Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Inside "Inside Llewyn Davis"

I watched "Inside Llewyn Davis" on Sunday. I just had to write something about it. I went in expecting a funny, quirky movie, which it is mostly. But I came out of it feeling quite depressed. Don't get me wrong; I absolutely loved the movie. It moved me, to put it in mediocre words. It moved me enough to make me want to write about it, in a terribly unsatisfactory way. I don't want to get into the plot details because frankly, there isn't enough plot. It's a week in the life of a man who is good but not just good enough. I don't know if I am being narcissistic when I say I could empathize with Llewyn Davis' character. I think anyone who thinks of himself/herself as an artist can empathize with him. You can empathize with his arrogance when he sees his contemporaries' work. You can empathize with him being a jerk to people who try to be nice to him, but in fact, kind of pity him. I don't know why everyone (including me) thinks that they have to be tortured or angry or experience some sort of negative emotion to be thought of as a true artist. With Llewyn, it's not so much the negative emotions. Half the time, he seems numb. His reactions to his friend's death, the fact that he may have a child living somewhere, his father's condition, seem so tame. Or rather, he hardly reacts to any of this. But when he sings, his voice seems to carry the weight of all that he is going through. It almost seems like he is saving up reacting to all these things that life is throwing at him just so that he can sound all raspy and sad when he sings.

The one thing that I loved about this movie, more than anything, is the cat, Ulysses. Also the female cat which is mistakenly believed to be Ulysses. This cat is one thing that makes you want to like Llewyn. He may be an ass to most people  around him and be oblivious of their expectations from him but he is a nice enough person to carry the cat around instead of letting it go (which would have been the practical thing to do). Granted that he abandons the female cat and a physically challenged man in the middle of nowhere in the bitter cold, but hey, we can't please everyone all the time!

The songs are brilliant. The "Please Mr. Kennedy" song is the only cheerful thing in the movie. Oscar Isaac has done a wonderful job. I have not watched any of his other movies but I really hope that he considers this shaggy hair, unshaven, haven't-had-a-bath-in-forever look because it works so well for him. Carey Mulligan looks like a ghost in a Japanese movie but most scenes she is in are really funny. Justin Timberlake hardly has any screen time. The cat still remains the best character in the movie. Especially in that one scene where it is looking out of the subway train at all these sign boards. Believe me, that is Oscar-worthy acting when compared to K-Stew.

If I may self indulge a bit, I could see how my life would end up being if I decided to give writing a shot and get rid of my comfortable lifestyle and struggle to live (and not exist, as Llewyn would say). Only difference is that I wouldn't have any kind friends who'd let me sleep on their couch...