While many regard Joel and Ethan Coen as two of the best directors to grace the cinematic plains, my thoughts have always been rather tentative towards their vastly scoped filmography. With films such as No Country For Old Men and True Grit, among many others, gaining not only universal praise but also Oscar acknowledgement, I never quite grasped the praise being thrown their way. That’s not saying I was completely against the Coens; in fact I have dabbled in my own positivity towards a small number of their projects, but in the main, I certainly wouldn’t have put them on a pedestal for recommendation to friends. That was the case until I witnessed the majestic wonderment of Inside Llewyn Davis.

Having attended the London Film Festival last October, I was one of many fortunate individuals to witness the Coen Brothers’ latest film, even if I did enter with lower expectations than many around me. Knowing very little about Inside Llewyn Davis, I was far removed from pre-judgment and decided this could be the film to make-or-break my stance towards these esteemed directors. Fortunately, this was one film to sway me into Camp Coen and make me thoroughly reconsider their credentials.

So why the change of heart? Well, Inside Llewyn Davis is simply exquisite filmmaking without being forceful or exasperating, and is instead, a simple story that glistens in its highlights and warms the heart like few others.

The first thing I noticed about the film was its attention to an integral part of any film; its soundtrack. Inside Llewyn Davis not only connects on every level with its music-based lead character and his cohorts, but also presents a wonderful collection of country selections that fit into the jigsaw puzzle like they’ve never been apart. Before the film I never particularly dabbled into the world of country music before; that all changed and now you can find such delights as ‘Please Mr. Kennedy’ and ‘Fare Thee Well’ often playing on a loop on my iPod.

Then there’s the cast; a superb collective of famed faces all combining to forge an unbeatable force of nature and presenting a host of unforgettably diverse characters. From Oscar Isaac’s hugely unfortunate Llewyn to the quirkiness of Justin Timberlake’s Jim, the Coens nail their stars and use them to their full potential in some truly inspiring scenes. The scripting allows for each to fluidly and solidly recreate on screen what has been paid out in the screenplay and plays off superbly.

Attention to detail also serves up as flavour of the day for the directorial siblings, with Llewyn Davis’ 1960s folk scene in New York’s Greenwich village captured perfectly. It’s seems a trait of theirs to specifically pinpoint an era and setting, and particularly here they capture the folk scene in all its glory.

Inside Llewyn Davis is a film that floored me in its design, delivery and presentation, causing me to seriously reconsider my previous notion that the Coen Brothers were nothing but merely average. Since witnessing their latest, and possibly best, entry into their esteemed cinematic collective, I have realised that these are treasures in the art of filmmaking. Not only have I been captivated by Inside Llewyn Davis, but also been edged into revisiting some of their previous work, underlining the message that this pairing is a match made in directorial heaven.

Many say no-one can make films like the Coen Brothers and, now that I have finally seen the light after many years, I am more inclined to agree with that statement. As diverse as any directors can get and brave with their characters and scenarios, these are two men who know their way inside and out of the film industry and rightly have the backing of some of the greatest acts in the business.

For the years of neglect from myself toward them I can only hang my head in shame, but finally the Coens are back on my radar and likely to stay there for the foreseeable future.


Read all of our coverage on this film and the Coen brothers here, and find out more about Inside Llewyn Davis here.