FAULT Focus: 2013 films ‘Rush’, ‘Runner Runner’ and ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’ under the spotlight

Throughout 2013, we saw a number of films that catered to various audiences based on hobbies and activities.


Perhaps the most noteworthy was Rush, one of the most acclaimed sports films released in years. For those who love professional sports, whether that means following Formula 1 racing in everyday life or simply harboring a love for competition, Rush was a thrilling and dramatic adventure that delved into the different approaches great athletes take to competition, and how these approaches reflect in their lives.


Another example of a film geared toward a specific audience was Runner Runner, the underwhelming online gambling thriller. Despite its disappointing execution, the premise behind the film was sound – at least from a marketing perspective. These days, online gambling activity is incredibly high, so naturally the film was of interest to thousands of real-life gamblers. At popular online poker site Bet Fair, for example, you can find thousands of active gamers live at any time—typically up to 15,000—in addition to tournaments scheduled throughout the day. At online sports booking and slot machines, there’s betting activity going on 24/7 that caters to people’s love of Internet gaming. Clearly Runner Runner had an enormous built-in audience and it was a pity that a film was such a strong cast failed so spectacularly to live up to its hype.

Perhaps more than any other film of 2013, Inside Llewyn Davis catered to a specific genre of fan: music lovers. Music films and biopics that get major releases tend to do very well, as they often delve into the fascinating lives and cultures of musicians, and showcase incredible songs and albums along the way. And despite its focus on what might now be considered a musical subculture (folk), Inside Llewyn Davis was no exception, offering a deep and profound look at the life of a struggling musician.


The film surrounds Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac), a fictional folk singer living in Greenwich Village in New York City in 1961. At the outset of the film, Davis’s folk partner has committed suicide, and Davis is struggling to make ends meet. His solo album (which shares the same title as the film) isn’t selling well, and from making a fool of himself at the local Gaslight Cafe, to dissevering he may be the father of a friend’s wife’s unborn child, to general financial and career woes, he can’t seem to put together a string of success.

This is essentially the plot of the film: we watch Davis move from place to place, hitchhiking and sleeping on couches as he tries to piece his life together without any idea of what he wants the finished product to look like. Though it certainly grows a bit numbing and sad—even frustrating, at times—Inside Llewyn Davis is both an impassioned and a quirky look at the journey of a struggling musician, which in many ways is even more fascinating than that of a successful one.

The film also stars Justin Timberlake, Carey Mulligan, and (Coen brothers favourite) John Goodman, and, just as Runner Runner and Rush appealed to online gambling enthusiasts and sports fanatics respectively, Inside Llewyn Davis is an absolute must-see for any music lover.