DVD Review: ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’ Sings Again on DVD

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CHICAGO – “Inside Llewyn Davis” shows the strength of the Coen brothers’ authorship, and the vitality their vision gives to different time periods, locations, and life experiences. This freewheelin’ bildungsroman of destiny? coincidence? trails a scraggly singer/songwriter (Oscar Isaac as the title character), daring to spread olden tunes in a period of American artistry that is pre-Dylan. And yet, “Inside Llewyn Davis” is a modern a film as it may seem the period. Give the title character an iPhone, and he’s a Millenial, maneuvering his way through the world while trying to survive bad luck.

HollywoodChicago.com DVD rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

Similar to how Michael Stuhlbarg was tossed around in the Coens’ previous ode of bad luck “A Serious Man”, Isaac is quite a curious discovery in this film. Featured in almost every scene, he certifies his potential as a lead. He can truly sing and strum as well, even if we have to look past his more modern singing technique.

Llewyn’s odyssey through chilly terrain of maturity is indeed Coen-centric, including supporting characters with otherworldly monologues, who plant curiosity and comedy just as much as the human set-pieces who might have one line, maybe two. Neatly placed throughout are a few notable faces (Justin Timberlake, a particularly prickly Carey Mulligan who relishes the underlined words in a leaked script, a not-so jolly John Goodman, Garrett Hedlund), whom share no more than five scenes with Isaac’s aloof journeyman.

A dark comedy in the key of Coen, “Inside Llewyn Davis” is assuredly enigmatic and mysterious, distinctly funny as it is serious. Its music, shown in full performances with Bruno Delbonnel’s Oscar-nominated cinematography and gray lighting, provides some of 2013’s best duets of visual and sound.

The DVD only has one special feature, but it’s a big one. Considering the mystery behind the film, it’s surprising that so much would be shared about the film in general. Even just seeing the Coen brothers working feels like an unusual, yet welcome type of intimate behind-the-scenes experience.

From a duo of legendary filmmakers, “Inside Llewyn Davis” is one of very precise details and questions, which should probably only be explained by the movie itself. Nonetheless this DVD is worth owning, especially for anyone who considers themselves a Coen-phile. Repeat viewings certify the title character’s take on folk music: “If it was never new, and it never gets old.”

Inside Llewyn Davis was released on DVD on March 11, 2014
"Inside Llewyn Davis was released on DVD on March 11, 2014
Photo credit: Courtesy of CBS Films

Oscar Isaac (“Drive”) plays Llewyn Davis, a worn-down folk singer from 1960’s Greenwich Village before Bob Dylan became a tornado in the scene. When accidentally loses a friend’s cat, Llewyn begins a journey that leads him to different landscapes of a cruel business.

Special Features:
o Inside “Inside Llewyn Davis”

“Inside Llewyn Davis” was released on DVD on March 11, 2014.

By Nick Allen
Staff Writer

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