Llewyn Davis is a struggling folk musician attempting to find his place in the world by scouring New York's Greenwich Village at the height of folk in 1961. Along the way he meets old friends who are not particularly happy to see him because of his own unresolved mistakes in the past, and while he strives to find a venue to do what he loves doing, hitchhiking across roads in the freezing winter with a beat-up guitar and a homeless cat, he is forced to question not only himself as a person, but also where and what he really wants his future to be.
'Inside Llewyn Davis' is an emotional musical drama written and directed by Oscar winners Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, aka The Coen Brothers ('No Country for Old Men', 'True Grit', 'Fargo'). It has been very loosely based on the posthumous 2005 memoirs 'The Mayor of MacDougal Street' by the late New York folk artist Dave Van Ronk, and has been nominated to compete for the sought after Palme d'Or prize at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. This passionate story about love, music, finding oneself and learning from one's mistakes will hit screens in the UK on January 24th 2014.
If a movie's success is measured by its ability to get under our skin and provoke a reaction, then this might be the film of the year. Designed to make us furious, this drama pushes us to the brink as we shout at the characters for being so naive. But the events depicted are based on actual experiences, and the more we think about this, the more unnerving it becomes. It might be impossible to believe that anyone could be this stupid, but can we really be sure we'd make better decisions?
Award-winning actress Ann Dowd (who also played Channing Tatum's mum in Side Effects) stars as Sandra, manager of a ChickWich fast-food outlet in Ohio. She has the usual issues with her young employees, who think she's out of touch, but is happy because she expects her boyfriend Van (Camp) to propose tonight. Then she gets a phone call from Officer Daniels (Healy) telling her that her young employee Becky (Walker) has stolen cash from a customer. He asks Sandra to detain Becky in the office and search her belongings. Sandra makes sure the assistant manager (Atkinson) is present, but she becomes more hesitant about Daniels' more extreme demands. And over the next few hours, he pushes things much further, getting Becky's young colleague Kevin (Ettinger) involved, as well as Van.
Writer-director Zobel structures the film perfectly to strike a nerve. As outsiders we are naturally more suspicious, wondering how Sandra knows that the man on the phone is actually a cop, especially when be begins to bully her with threats. She just wants to do the right thing, and questions all of Daniels' requests, but for us looking in we can't help but think that what he's saying is so preposterous that she needs to just put a stop to it. Cleverly, each character has a very distinct reaction when they get on the phone with Daniels. But as the situation escalates into something unthinkable, we can't understand why no one becomes a voice of reason.
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