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Starring: Oscar Issac, John Goodman, Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake, Garrett Hedlund and F. Murray Abraham
Directed by: Joel & Ethan Cohen
I’m sure you’ve read my reviews on Fifty Shades of Grey and Project Almanac, both of them were pretty bad (well, PA was okay. Had a charismatic cast which carried the film but wasn’t anything special whiles the less said about Fifty Shades the better). I need to review a good film so I’ve hopped back into time to review this beauty. I seen this at the cinemas and gave it a 5* rating. Deservingly so. Will that opinion still hold up one year later?
So what’s it all about? It centres on a week in the life of Llewyn Davis (Issac), a talented folk singer who is just ever so slightly out of step with his time. This is set in the early days of New York’s folk revival. The scene that would make a massive impact on music with the arrival of Bob Dylan (a young Bob appears at the end of the film). Davis isn’t interested in earning easy plaudits. His main interests are finding a sofa to sleep on and a stage where he’s able to perform and earn a living. Davis also has to deal with his friend’s cat which leads to some humorous moments. He’s also at loggerheads with Jean (Carey Mulligan), the pregnant folk singer he’s been seeing behind her partner Jim’s (Justin Timberlake) back. If Davis had been born just a few months later he might have had a more realistic shot at fame despite his uncompromising attitude to selling out. It’s not just the cat that remains out of reach but breaking that glass ceiling and reaching those big breaks are just too hard to get hold of. Relying on the kindness of both friends and strangers, Llewyn hitchhikes from the streets of Greenwich Village to a Chicago club, where awaits a music mogul who could give him the big break that he desperately needs.
One year on and I still strongly urge you all to go and see this outstanding film. Words can’t express how I feel about this but I’ll sure as hell try to find the right accolade this movie deserves. Oscar Isaac is brilliant both as an actor and a singer. He performs Dave Van Ronk’s (the real life singer that Llewyn is based on) so beautifully that the film’s soundtrack takes pride of place on my ipod.
I don’t like how John Goodman is such a dick here. I mentioned this in my review of The Gambler that he’s too damn loveable to be hated. He’s Fred fucking Flintstone dammit! He’s also in one of favourite movies of all time, Argo (which I will be reviewing soon) playing the role of John Chambers and he plays the title role in one of my favourite guilty pleasures of all time, King Ralph (I may review it).
The involvement of the cat is marvellous. I see shades of one of my favourite books A Street Cat named Bob here except Llewellyn doesn’t share the same relationship with the cat like what James Bowen has with Bob. He’s too caught up in trying to make it in the cut-throat world of the music industry.
It’s another feather in the cap for the Coen Brothers. The witty script and the moody direction prove that Joel & Ethan are truly on song yet again.
Good movies don’t have to be bombarded with special effects or macho storylines with guns and the hero saving the world. As long as it tells a good story then that’s all that matters to me.
One of the greatest movies of my lifetime!
Rating: ***** (Top of the Pops)