One week ahead of the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, CBS Films has output a second red band trailer for Inside Llewyn Davis, the latest picture from sibling filmmaking duo, Joel and Ethan Coen. Cannes, of course, marks the movie’s official premiere, and given that it has been selected to compete for the Palme d’Or, the timing of this new clip makes perfect sense.
Of course, “new” may be somewhat misleading since the differences between this trailer and the previous one, released only a few months back, are minute. Notably, there’s a shot missing of John Goodman that probably says too much about his character’s arc, and some of Carey Mulligan’s dialogue has been cut down; the footage also goes on slightly longer, showing off some previously unseen character shots to better establish the cast.
Beyond that, though, the two reels are more or less identical. The aim in both is to establish the endless harships and woes faced by the titular Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac) as he navigates the folk music scene in 1960s Greenwich Village. Along the way, he quarrels with his ex-girlfriend, Jean (Mulligan), picks up a cat as his traveling companion, gets into a few scuffles on the street, and falls in with Goodman, whose role in the film is somewhat unclear.
As a result, the overarching tone being conveyed here is pretty bleak. That’s just the nature of the Coens’ filmography – even a screwball comedy like Burn After Reading goes to pretty harsh places in their hands – but it’s interesting to see them treat this story with their trademark sense of austerity. Inside Llewyn Davis is said to be based loosely on The Mayor of MacDougal Street, the memoirs of the highly influential and yet frequently overlooked folk musician Dave Van Ronk, who played a significant role in folk culture back in the 60s; today, he’s widely credited for blending traditional blues sounds with the new styles fashioned by the likes of Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, and Leonard Cohen (to name a few).
But none of that comes up in the preview footage. Granted, that doesn’t speak to the quality of the film but it’s telling that Inside Llewyn Davis is being sold based on the adversity its hero faces rather than the impact he winds up having on an entire musical movement. Maybe the film will explore more than the adversity Llewyn has to put up with throughout its running time (though the trailer definitely suggests that he’s the cause of most of his own problems), but at first blush, Inside Llewyn Davis looks like a story about a musician trying to make it in a cold, harsh world rather than that of the effect Van Ronk had on folk musicianship.
And, as is to be expected from the Coens, it looks completely gorgeous. By coincidence, so does the poster, which CBS Films has also unveiled leading into the commencement of Cannes – you can check it out below:
There’s one thing that’s off about the poster: it reads “coming soon” instead of “December 6th, 2013”, the date that CBS Films has set for its theatrical run in the US. If you’re lucky enough to be at Cannes, you’ll get to see it by next week, but it’s good to know that we’ll all get to check out Inside Llewyn Davis before the year is out.
What do you think, Screen Ranters? Are you ready to see the Coens take a break from fare like True Grit and make something more personal and off the beaten path?
Inside Llewyn Davis arrives in theaters on December 6th, 2013.