Inside Llewyn Davis is the Coen Brothers, and Oscar Isaac at their finest. This is a truly endearing, sophisticated and funny film that warms you despite its cold, harsh landscapes. Isaac stars as Llewyn Davis, an aspiring somewhat demotivated singer in the 1960s folk revival scene, squandering opportunities and blaming everyone but himself. He has “friends”, people who will him on in the hope of achieving his dream, but their patience is wearing thin.
A series of unfortunate incidents lead him to continue to wallow in his own self-pity, as those around him thrive and excel much to his passive annoyance. However, it continues to be slightly funny in an obtuse way, because the audience can see these downfalls coming much sooner than Llewyn can. As he trawls New York looking for an acquaintance’s cat that he has lost, the inanity of his quest to become an accomplished musician takes a back-seat and instead we watch him drift through life from one luckless moment to the next.
Llewyn is an impeccably crafted character by the Coens, complex and fascinating, executed perfectly with raw heartfelt emotion by Isaac, it is an exciting performance that captivated me from start to finish. With appearances from John Goodman, Adam Driver, Justin Timberlake and Carey Mulligan, this well-balanced film has plenty going for it both in terms of cast and content. Musically, it’s one of the best films I’ve heard, all recorded live on set, it adds volumes to the plight of our protagonist as we quickly realise just how talented it really is. It is quite astonishing just how overlooked this film was for the awards season in 2013, but it has only helped contribute to the films understated beauty.
Now available on BFI player, among many other VOD outlets, I urge you seek out this film. It is arguably the Coens best work since Fargo.