Hmmmm…ha ha ha ha ouch ha ha ha ha ha ouch ha ha ha ha ouch ha ha ha ha ouch ha ha ha ha ouch ha ha ha ha ha ouch ha ha ha ha ouch ha ha ha ha ouch ha ha ha ha ouch ha ha ha ha ha ouch ha ha…ha…hmmmm…
The above could be interpreted as a load of clever nonsense or a really clever yet reductive attempt to the sum up the most of the coen brothers oeuvre in a onanistic display of onamatopoeia….hmmmm indeed.
now before i scratch my beard any further as i get lost in my own deep thoughts, let’s say that the coen brothers, the talented mischievous buggers that they are like to play around with the fate of their characters much like mischievous smart alec cinematic puppet masters.
We are often invited to laugh or cringe at the predicament of said schmuck be it william h macy’s hopeless car salesman in fargo, jeff bridges blissfully zen hippie casualty in the big lebowski or michael stuhlbargs cursed physics professor in a serious man.
In their latest somewhat dry but deeply absorbing existential character study, the writing and directing team give us their take on the early 60’s greenwich village folk scene through the eyes of a frustrated folk singer, the eponymous llewyn davis portrayed by oscar isaac as a likeable yet flawed, artistically wilful sort trying to make some headway in the transitional haze of a pre-dylan folkie clique.
with llewyn davis, we find the coens playing in a minor key and keeping themselves on a leash stylistically speaking; broad characterizations, loopy, witty dialogue and cruel, sardonic comedy are conspicuously absent and what is left is some of the overarching fatalistic mood of the likes of blood simple, no country for old men, the man who wasn’t there and the aforementioned a serious man. this is one of their more subtle works, wintry and subdued, quietly humorous, a beautifully stark account of an artist with undoubted talent both caught in a trap of his own making and battling against forces beyond his ken.