Inside Llewyn Davis
Oscar Isaac gives a star-making performance as a singer attempting to break out in the Coen brothers’ bittersweet, pre-Dylan folk comedy.
It’s 1961. Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac) is once again down on his luck. He’s sleeping on friends’ couches, trying to earn a living singing, and after performing a gig at favourite beatnik spot The Gaslight Café is beaten up by a stranger for some unknown reason. His girlfriend has moved on. His colleagues have tired of him. And so a chance to get out of the city seems like a perfect opportunity for Llewyn to recharge his batteries.
Like their previous O Brother, Where Art Thou?, the Coens make music the heart of their period comedy drama. And as with their best work, pleasure is derived from never quite knowing where the story will take you next. It also helps that they consistently find actors perfect for the roles they’ve created. (Gabriel Byrne in Miller’s Crossing, Josh Brolin in No Country for Old Men, Michael Stuhlbarg in A Serious Man and Hailee Steinfeld in True Grit are just a few.) Here’s Isaac’s outstanding central performance is matched by Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake, Garrett Hedlund and Coens’ regular John Goodman.