Victoria Jelinek

Inside Llewyn Davis

Llewyn Davis poster1961, the West Village, New York. Singer-songwriter Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac) skulks at the fringe of the folk-revival scene, bothered by the memory of his dead partner, and hoping for a big break to land in his lap. Meanwhile, the unwelcome pregnancy of a brief liaison with Jean (Carey Mulligan) and the accidental adoption of a cat, create a series of mishaps that lamentably fail to alter anything about Llewyn’s life.

Inspired by the memoir of real-life folk hero, Dave Van Ronk, Inside Llewyn Davis is one of the Coen brothers’ serious films. While the film is quirky and darkly comic, primarily via Llewyn’s expressions to the absurd people and circumstances around him, the film is based upon an unsexy musical scene and infused with melancholy. Additionally, its hero is not likeable. For example, he tries to borrow money from a friend (played by Justin Timberlake) for an abortion when the friend is the boyfriend of the said girl. He laments the suicide of his partner in their flourishing musical duo, but he’s the one left suffering, right? He’s a man who doesn’t deign to connect with others, yet he can’t function alone. He takes responsibility for the ginger Tom, but he alienates everyone around him, even long time fans.

That said, Llewyn is captivating. His observation of the absurd injustices in the world around him, is as relevant today as is was then.

The Social Network

Harvard university student Mark Zuckerberg sets up a social networking site called ‘The Facebook’, which basically becomes an overnight success and makes Zuckerberg the youngest billionaire in modern times. Meanwhile, a trio of well-off jocks who claim he stole their idea pursue Zuckerberg in court.

Zuckerberg is played by actor Jesse Eisenberg who is amazing as an emotionally isolated, social-climbing outsider who’s also a genius. Justin Timberlake plays Napster founder Sean Parker with seductive style, taking Zuckerberg from amateur to pro.

Director David Fincher (Fight Club, Seven) helms with a restrained and controlled hand that keeps cohesive this tense story of five individuals ironically torn apart by the biggest social networking site the world has ever seen. Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin (West Wing and A Few Good Men) writes dialogue that is fast and intelligent. And finally, the acting, particularly by Eisenberg and Timberlake, is great.  A suspenseful, interesting and relevant film.