Review: 'Inside Llewyn Davis'
December 20, 2013 3:37 p.m.
KPBS film critic Beth Accomando reviews the new Coen film, "Inside Llewyn Davis."
Related Story: Review: 'Inside Llewyn Davis'
ANCHOR INTRO: The new Coen brothers film “Inside Llewyn Davis” opens this weekend at Landmark. KPBS arts reporter Beth Accomando can’t decide what to make of it.
LLEWYN (ba).wav 1:16
Usually I need to see a Coen brothers film a couple times before reaching a final verdict. I‘ve seen “Inside Llewyn Davis” twice and I still feel ambivalent toward this tale of a down-on-his-luck musician.
CLIP What did you say you played?... folk music… Oh I thought you said you were a musician.
It’s an impeccably made film – well acted, shot with a bleak beauty, and boasting sharp dialogue. Yet I’m at a loss for why they made it. It has the foreboding tone of A Serious Man and looks to the creative process as in Barton Fink but its central character is simply someone I don’t care about. I don’t mind a character that’s unlikable or unsympathetic but I do need to care enough about what happens to him to remain engaged in the story and Llweyn Davis doesn’t do it for me. He’s a whiny jerk whose sensitive folk music is a stark contrast to who he is.
CLIP you probably heard that one before, it’s was never new and it never gets old because it’s a folk song.
In the end, I can admire “Inside Llewyn Davis” for its craft but unlike the Coen films “Miller’s Crossing,” “Fargo,” and “The Big Lebowski” that I can watch endlessly -- I have little desire to ever see this one again. It feels like the Coens are playing a practical joke on me, giving me something shiny and pretty but ultimately worthless.
Beth Accomando, KPBS News.