Sunday, January 5, 2014

Inside Llewyn Davis review:

Inside Llewyn Davis is an effortless exhaustion, until you try to sell it.

Sitting there in the dark it is fine. It is great. The story pitches and rolls like a small ocean. You are pulled in from the first song. There is a center-of-the-galaxy certainty that Dylan will show, and when THAT itch is finally scratched, everyone in the room has shared an intimacy. In public. So it is fine that the film is in a microscopic LA/NY release. We can't get really slutty 'till All King's Day has passed.

You watch the film and you enjoy it. You care about the cat. The lead character's flaws are acceptable and even enriching. The Coen brothers have brought their A-game out once again (as if they have any other), and you are watching it the first time with fresh eyes.

But when you replay in your head the profane exchanges between Llewyn and his sounding-boards, whether they be lovers needing medical treatment, friends expecting civility at dinner, managers hoping to score, or wasted and crippled John Goodman doing the same, your foot lifts up off of the gas, and you decell.

Maybe this is a bit much to ask of people. You know, some of us may see Blue Jasmine on the same night and just decide to leave the gas on, you know? This is not an uplifting film. But it is still a good idea to see it before the Globes, and to load up before, so you don't have to miss. Crank the Basement Tapes all the way home, and feel the singer's pain and wonder.

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