I don’t know where to start with this film. I love just about every aspect of it. From the coloring to Oscar Isaac’s performance to the music to the overall tone of the film. This movie sold me. I have never felt so invested in a character who really couldn’t care less about his surroundings. The Coen Brothers expertly crafted this film to make it into a wonderful masterpiece like the songs that were played in the film.
Spoilers will follow
From the very beginning, it is understood that Davis (Isaac) is a terrible person. He is unapologetic and unforgiving. His life is defined by his music. He uses this line of “If it was never new, and it never gets old, then it’s a folk song.” It captures the essence of his music. He’s not creating anything new and just doing the same things over and over again. Jean (Carey Mulligan) points it out to him and he just ignores it. It seems like for the sake of his sanity. While Davis travels around, his character never really changes and I appreciate it. It fully defines his idea that his life won’t be changing no matter how hard he tries by either going to Chicago or trying to get shipped off again.
If it was never new, and it never gets old, then it’s a folk song
My favorite part of this film is its coloring. Never could I have imagined that color could so perfectly define the tone, mood, and setting. New York has always been called the city that never sleeps but to Llewyn, it seems that the city slows down for him. The color never highlights reds so everything looks drab. It shows what he thinks of the city. It does not have anything for him and never will. It’s so interesting how the character is so shaped by the colors that he sees. His passion for music has left him empty and worn out. He constantly complains of being tired with no true ending. The colors almost make me feel like I’ve been awake for many days and this is the result. I enjoy how the cat even looks a little brown despite being bright orange. Not even the brightest of objects can brighten his mood.
My favorite shot in the film was the shot-reverse shot when Llewyn goes to Chicago and performs in front of the label head. At first, there is a close up of Llewyn and the reverse shot is behind him to look at the label head. The shot slowly creeps up until Llewyn is out of view. To me, that series shows the intimacy growing between the two characters. The audience is quite literally drawn into the performance and we think we feel a connection. Which Llewyn is trying to have so that he can play with this guy. Then the final shot in the sequence is the record label saying no and the cameras immediately go back because the connection between the characters isn’t there anymore.
Overall, I think that Isaac did a great job as Llewyn Davis. He was believable, free, and most importantly, a true character. He never helped anyone but to help himself. There was no great transformation because that’s not who he is. I’m glad that the film kept everything well together. I thoroughly enjoyed the film and the music. I will definitely be seeing this again soon.