Saturday, February 1, 2014

INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS - 2 nominations


Cinematography - Bruno Delbonnel
Sound Mixing - Skip Lievsay, Greg Orloff and Peter F. Kurland

Inside Llewyn Davis is the story of a struggling folk singer who has become a solo act after his former partner committed suicide.  He looks for shelter (couch surfing) among his friends and acquaintances - fellow folkies, a professor and his wife, and even family members.  His relationships are not strong given that he has no filter and says as many inappropriate things as appropriate things (to take a quote from Silver Linings Playbook). Llewyn is looking to make a life through his music, but discovers that his dream will be harder to achieve, and ultimately considers going back to the Merchant Marines.  He is a man beaten down by his circumstances and by an up and coming career cut short.

But the music… oh the music.  Since the day I saw the movie a few months ago, I have listened to the soundtrack at least a few times per week.  This is the music of my childhood, both having been raised by a folkie and having started guitar lessons at 8 years old.  There is something so soulful about each and every song (save one bouncy, silly song that is so funny when delivered by Justin Timberlake, Oscar Isaac, and Adam Driver that it's just awesome), it's like watching the history of folk music come alive.  With the death of Pete Seeger in the last few weeks, Inside Llewyn Davis takes on an even more important role this year, reminding us of how the folk movement began.  The film ends with a young up and comer by the name of Bob Dylan singing his hit, Farewell.

The cinematography nomination is a strange one, although I suppose the challenge of displaying winter weather and expansive snow drifts and night driving would be the impetus for it.  It was hardly the standout of the film because it was very subtle, but when you look at it closely watching for cinematography, you start to see the different filters and colors used to set moods and feelings associated with the story, and the nomination starts to become a bit clearer.  But the sound mixing is so spot on in a category that is generally reserved for action films and less for musicals (unlike sound editing), but this production combines so many elements into one that the sound mixers do deserve this recognition, in my opinion.  I can't see either one winning the category for this film.

The clear missed category for which I think the film was snubbed is Best Original Score.  If Saving Mr. Banks can get a nomination this year, there is just no excuse for Inside Llewyn Davis to be missing from that list.

I've heard mixed reviews from people who actually lived through this time period, especially because they observed folkies to be uplifting, young idealists rather than moody, downtrodden misanthropes.  But I loved it.  If Inside Llewyn Davis' success is any indication, we can look forward to a much-needed revival of folk music, and watching groups like Mumford and Sons and The Milk Carton Kids come to popularity gives me lots of hope that it will make a big comeback.

Haven't seen the film?
Watch the Inside Llewyn Davis Movie Trailer

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