“O Brother, Where Art Thou?” might have been the Coens film explicitly following the Odyssey, but “Inside Llewyn Davis” follows it in many ways as well, notably in its fascinating non-linear story structure. The beginning and ending of the film, to my mind, illustrate the cyclical nature of self-sabotage, failure, depression…I don’t view the film as a wraparound flashback, but as a demonstration of Llewyn’s self-destructive habits.
Llewyn is offered chances out of his self-destructive, self-sabotaging lifestyle, but rebukes them. I don’t view Llewyn unkindly, I think it’s easy to empathise with someone treating their life like that when they’re depressed, when they’re grieving, when they’re an artist with a struggled relationship to their art and its reception. He’s painfully empathetic, and my favourite Coens protagonist because of this.
Another similarity with “O Brother, Where Art Thou” is the excellent, excellent music. What can be said here? The music is brilliant; it’s one of my favourite film soundtracks.
The dusty, dim cinematography was gorgeous, and tied so well with Llewyn’s psyche. It’s a brilliant, painful film.
I give it four and a half guitar strings, and $148 in back dues.