Inside Llewyn Davis
"Inside Llewyn Davis" is the most satisfyingly diabolical cinematic structure that the Coens have ever contrived, and that's just one reason that I suspect it…
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Listen -- a billion people are throwing up. That's a rough estimate of course, but every year somebody at the Oscars says a billion people on the planet are watching the program; however many watched this year's Oscar show, they may well have felt sickened by it. It was a stomach-churning, jaw-dropping debacle, incompetently hosted and witlessly produced.
At home, Mark Whitacre (Matt Damon) has a business line and a personal line. You should know that because the FBI does, and so do his bosses at Archer Daniels Midland ("Supermarket To The World"™). Mark is pretty good at compartmentalizing his life, but the lines are about to get crossed a little bit.
Mark lives with his wife and kids in Decatur, IL, but he's been all over the world with ADM and he's proud of what they do, especially with corn. They make all kinds of stuff out of plain old corn, from high fructose corn syrup to lysine to ethanol -- all of which, you might say, are fuel additives, designed to juice up production of... whatever.
Celebrating ADM's miraculous line of alchemical products, Mark excitedly notes: "Corn goes in one end and profit comes out the other!" Vivid image, that. Kind of suggests Mark's chronic logorrhoea, the stream of partially digested thoughts that swirls around inside his head and occasionally gushes from his mouth. When he gets going his internal monologue (in voiceover) actually talks right over his lips and his tongue. He doesn't interrupt himself; his mouth and his brain just keep spilling over each other. I wouldn't be surprised if Damon's Mark Whitacre had a cousin named Jerry Lundegaard in Fargo.
The walls of Roger Smith's office are covered with pictures of Ann-Margret. Here she is as a sex kitten, on the cover of Life. There's a cover from Entertainment World, a forgotten show business magazine. All in a row are three recent covers of People. And here are an oil painting of Ann-Margret, and a lot of cartoonist's caricatures, and some framed ads and telegrams and the usual backstage memorabilia. In one corner, almost hidden behind a file cabinet, is Roger Smith's only souvenir of his own career: A framed ad for his stage appearance as a folk singer at the "hungry i" nightclub in San Francisco, in 1964.