Director(s): Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Cast: Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, John Goodman
Release Date: Now Available on Blu-Ray & DVD
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Disc Rating: 10/10
The visionary chroniclers of eccentric Americana Joel and Ethan Coen present one of their greatest creations in Llewyn Davis, a singer barely eking out a living on the peripheries of the flourishing Greenwich Village folk scene of the early sixties. As embodied by Oscar Isaac in a revelatory performance, Llewyn (loosely modeled on the Village folk legend Dave Van Ronk) is extraordinarily talented but also irascible, rude, and self-defeating. His circular odyssey through an unforgiving winter cityscape, evocatively captured by cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel, is realized with poignant humor and the occasional surreal touch. Featuring a folk soundtrack curated by T Bone Burnett, Inside Llewyn Davis reminds us that in the Coens’ world, history isn’t necessarily written by the winners.
From the talented filmmaking duo of the Coen Brothers comes the phenomenal 2013 film ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’ which introduces us the story of Llewyn Davis (Isaac) and his daily struggle to succeed as a folk singer in the music scene of the early 60’s, now a relatively unknown solo act following the loss of his long time partner. Beautifully guided by Joel and Ethan Coen from their own script, this filmmaking gem also features an impressive cast including Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, John Goodman, Justin Timberlake, Adam Driver, F. Murray Abraham and more, nearly all of whom are fantastic in each of their respective roles.
‘Inside Llewyn Davis’ is a beautiful, heartfelt and intricate exploration of the music scene primarily from one musician’s point of view during a drastically different time. Filled with heartfelt moments and gorgeous imagery, this phenomenal masterpiece is also quite unique, even for a film by the anything but generic Joel and Ethan Coen. It manages to truly pull you into Llewyn’s world to the degree you feel as if you’re nearly right there aside him to experience another day filled with issues, the search for a couch to crash on, and most importantly of all the love of music. I cannot possibly recommend ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’ highly enough and for those who may not have previously had the pleasure of this marvelous film, other than miraculously acquiring the 35 mm print and capable technology, I cannot fathom a better way to experience it at home for the first time than via this magnificent Criterion Collection Blu-ray release.
Fans of ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’ as well as the work of the Coen Brothers in general will absolutely want to make certain to pick up a copy of the ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’ Criterion Collection release on Blu-ray to add to their collections. This gorgeous Criterion Collection Blu-ray release (approved by the Coen Brothers themselves) delivers magnificent high definition video and audio presentations in addition to a truly impressive collection of worthwhile extras including a New Audio Commentary, A new Conversation with Guillermo Del Toro and Joel and Ethan Coen, in addition to a great deal more (more detailed information regarding the bonus content can be found in the special features section of the technical specification coverage below) easily making this release a definite must own.
Overall, ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’ is a wonderful and gorgeous film, unique in many ways even for a Coen brothers effort and fans of the talented filmmaking duo as well as this specific entry in their ever expanding collection of impressive outings will definitely want to make certain to pick up a copy of The Criterion Collection’s ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’ Blu-ray release, unquestionably the definitive release of the movie, as well as fully approved by Joel and Ethan Coen.
The Criterion Collection Blu-ray release of ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio. The following is a quote from inside the releases’ included booklet regarding the video transfer for those who would prefer some additional details:
Approved by directors Joel and Ethan Coen, this digital transfer was created in 4K resolution on a Spirit 4K film scanner from the 35 mm original camera negative at Technicolor PostWorks in New York.
The video presentation looks outstanding, delivering a crisp, detailed and wonderful video presentation from start to finish, perfectly representing the Coen’s intended vision. It beautifully captures the damp colors and soothing tones, holding up flawlessly even during the fast moving and darkly lit sequences and never resulting in anything occurring on screen to become negatively affected, let alone rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a wonderful high definition video presentation that should undoubtedly thrill fans.
The Criterion Collection Blu-ray release includes a lossless 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. Just as with the video details above, the following is a quote from inside the releases’ included booklet regarding the audio transfer for those who would prefer some more details:
This film features a fully digital soundtrack. The 5.1 surround audio for this release was mastered at 24-bit from the original digital audio master files using Pro Tools HD.
This lossless multichannel soundtrack sounds fantastic and delivers admirably in every way required of it, providing a consistently sharp and clean audio presentation that while not overly active still utilizes all five available channels on a number of occasions in order to surround the viewer with the music so prominently focused on in the film, in addition to some crowd chatter, train noise and more, while never resulting in any dialogue which may be occurring simultaneously to become distorted or rendered inaudible. Overall, this is a top notch 5.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack that should not disappoint in the slightest.
The Criterion Collection Blu-ray release of ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’ is absolutely jam-packed with notable extras. Included on the release is a new ‘Audio Commentary with Authors Robert Christgau, David Hajdu and Sean Wilentz’. Also included on the release are ‘The First Hundred Feet, The Last Hundred Feet: A Conversation with Guillermo Del Toro, Ethan and Joel Coen’ (running approximately 41 minutes in length), ‘Inside Inside Llewyn Davis’ (approximately 43 minutes), and ‘Another Day, Another Time’ (1 hour, 41 minutes) which consists of a documentary chronicling the 2013 concert inspired by the music of Inside Llewyn Davis. Also included on the release is the 1961 Short Documentary by Dan Drasin titled ‘Sunday’ (17 minutes), along with ‘The Way of Folk’ (16 minutes), ‘Before The Flood: An Interview with Elijah Wald’ (19 minutes), 6 Trailers for the film (approximately 2-3 minutes each), as well as the usual included booklet/leaflet, this time featuring a gorgeous full color poster on one side and an Essay by Film Critic Kent Jones on the reverse.