Starring: Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, John Goodman, Justin Timberlake, Garrett Hedlund, Adam Driver
Directed by: Ethan Coen and Joel Coen
Synopsis: A week in the life of a young singer as he navigates the Greenwich Village folk scene of 1961.
A new Coen brothers movie is always a cause for celebration in my book. It doesn’t matter if it’s one of their best, or one of their weaker movies, there is always something to enjoy in them. Inside Llewyn Davis was one that I enjoyed a lot, but without ever feeling it was a real ‘Coens’ movie if that makes sense. Sure, there was a few characters who where kind of odd, and the movie had certain Coen type themes in it, but compared to previous unmistakeable efforts it was kind of a straight forward film.
Oscar Isaac is excellent as the titular character, who’s week just seems to go from bad to worse. He has no money, no where to stay, no gigs, no one has any interest in his music, he has strained relations with his friends and to cap it all off he loses a cat.
The film is a sort of love letter to the New York folk scene of the early sixties (Dylan even makes an appearance at the end) and from what I have read of that scene from that time, it is a great recreation. I’m not a huge fan of folk music personally, but the music featured in this is amazing, possibly even on a par (and certainly a close relation) with O Brother Where ‘Art Thou. It’s even more impressive that it was almost all played live as well, and definitely means that Isaac has a second career choice if this movie game doesn’t work out.
The performances are all good, especially Mulligan (angry) and Goodman (crazy, one of the most Coen-y thing about the film). The trouble is, none of them are really in it long enough to make more of an impression. This is a road movie of sorts, and they are all passing characters along the journey.
I would say this is probably the Coens best work since No Country For Old Men. Not quite on a par with that film for me personally, but a success none the less.