Saturday, 20 September 2014

an attempt at writing a film review
19th Sep. 2014, 03:12am 

             Melancholy – a word that strikes your mind when you start watching this movie. Set in the 60s, the protagonist – Llewyn, a folk singer, is struggling – both on personal and professional front. His collaborating music partner jumped off the Washington Bridge. He has a very bleak future and an unforgiving, pregnant ex-girlfriend. To make matters worse, he is constantly reminded of his absence by fans and friends in particular, and circumstances in general.

His (ex-) girlfriend is already involved with someone else. A solo act at a decent place is hard to come by. Devoid of a winter coat in a harsh weather, our man goes from one place to another, hoping to get an act or a solo album released. He is at the mercy of his friends and acquaintances for a place to bunk. The way his ex puts it, he is “King Midas’ idiot brother” – everything he tries turns into a tragedy. It doesn’t mean God is taking revenge. Mostly, it is his own way of messed up living that adds salt to his wounds from time to time.

He ends up hurting friends who help, is hostile to his family members, and sometimes contemplates quitting all this and go back to joining the armed forces.  Finds solace in a stranger cat. Oh yeah! Ulysses…that was the cat’s name, a bit ironic I must add.

            The Coen Brothers have got me hooked to their flicks now. The way they create extraordinary of out of ordinary is truely a mesmerising experience. I mean take this flick, for example. The plot is simple – a singer’s struggling life. Many of us can actually co-relate/ connect with our own lives – disappointments, heartbreak, job-hunt or a place to stay, not to forget the eternal battle to have deep pockets.

Oscar Isaac with his heavyhearted eyes – is sublime. Carey Mulligan and Justin Timberlake add dimensions to the movie. The brothers also have got good old John Goodman from their Lebowski days. He pulls off yet another short but crisp performance – he is so awesome at that.  Loved all the folk singing.
Bottomline – 7.5/10. My take away – Bob Dylan’s ‘Farewell Thee well’ !!! (forever an OST nomad...whoo ah)

PS; The Coens have their hero named 'Llewyn'. It was 'Llewelyn' in the Oscar-winning No Country for Old Men (the protagonist's name). It's Welsh, and I really don't know much of their history. Wouldn't be surprised though if they name their next character Lleweline or something... :)


  1. Review is good, as I felt. What I found missing though, was the demerits of the movie. Why would you give it a 7.5 if you liked everything about it? What was amiss? As a critic you should be including the negative aspects of the movie too.

    PS : Typo in the 2nd last line : their*

    1. Yes, you are right. I should have written a little about the negative aspects. You actually feel his pain even as you realise he is a pain himself. You certainly wouldn't want to become like him. In a particular scene, he is driving back in car from Chicage; sees the hometown of his ex-girlfriend (who chooses not to have abortion without even informing him) but doesn't take a detour. He even hits a cat crossing the road while driving but doesn't care and drives on. In a nutshell, he is a careless, self-obsessed guy lacking in emotions, living a haphazard life.
      Apart from that, the simple storytelling and brilliant direction of The Coens, the casting and individual performances made me give the rating. I swear I couldn't recognize Cary Mulligan the first time I saw her in the movie.
      Thank you for your feedback and pointing out the typos.