INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS: REVIEW – If the Coen brothers have produced something of lasting worth in this world of ours, it is a growing cast of characters, never conventional, occasionally dumb, occasionally dislikable, who nevertheless somehow manage to win our affection and respect: The Dude, Barton Fink, Tom Reagan, Marge Gunderson, Ed Crane and Ulysses Everett McGill. Llewyn Davis joins the club. Except Llewyn in common with many a Coen anti-hero, isn’t what you might call a joiner.
Set in the midst of the folk scene of the early Sixties, Llewyn (an amazing reputation making role by Oscar Isaac) is what you might call a prickly character. Unable to filter his disdain, or feign interest in what bores him, he is a folk singer who can’t bear folk. Despite his commitment to his art, his decisions are of the one step forward two steps back variety.
The Coen brothers lovingly reproduce the world of the pre-Dylan Village, but their portrait of tragic failure is both hilarious and unflinching. Whereas biopics swirl with stories of against the odds down on their luck heroes who triumph over adversity, the Coens create another type of hero: the glorious f*ck up of Llewyn Davis.
And there’s a cat.