This only got its wide release in the UK in 2014 and didn’t stay on cinema screens for that long either, a real shame as it’s a beautifully shot film with a great if not depressing story featuring a stunning central performance and a top class soundtrack.
This is my film of the year and I can see it being that way until possibly the end of 2014 unless something comes along and blows it out of the water. It’s an overlooked gem being mostly ignored for nominations at the Academy Awards. It really should have picked up a nod for Screenplay and Best Picture. The ones it is up for are ones it should win if I had my way. The cinematography is framed with precision and each shot looks grey but gorgeous in an odd way. The feel of the film is certainly hard luck and melancholy but in a juxtaposing way the songs however down they might be seem to give a folky lift to the narrative. Sound mixing works well with the bustle of 60’s New York blending nicely with the sounds and voices of guitar folk.
Oscar Isaac carries the film with a genuine ease and you feel for him and want to kick him into a more positive gear all at the same time. He has a grumpy face and a mood of why me world? etched over his face the entire time making the moments where he breaks down with anger much more impacting. You feel for him strangely when he’s asked to perform at dinner like he’s a monkey with his instrument, it’s his job but to others it’s just a table piece of entertainment. He sings the traditional songs with a pain in his tone that gives you goosebumps, well it gave me some! It’s a stunning role that he carries out with hunched over swagger and comfort that you sort of feel at home in this washed out world represented by the Coen Brothers.
It’s seriously a film I’d watch over and over again if it wasn’t off cinema screens so quickly. I cannot wait for the DVD release just to visit the world of Llewyn Davis once more time and feel the heartache of his failing life shown through sublime acting from Isaac and subtle yet executed brilliance from the Coens. It may not have been recognised to the Academy’s fault but at least this movie does have an Oscar already to show for it’s quirky and melancholy spectacle.