Inside Llewyn Davis

The Coen Brothers' inside Llewyn Davis is a curious picture, a film of unspectacular events in the life of a pretty reprehensible man, Mr. Davis of the title (Oscar Isaac), a struggling Greenwich Village folkie in the early '60s who is having a bad week. Though talented, the bleakness of Davis's outlook (and thus his songs) is off-putting but that would be tolerable if he were committed to loftier causes or cared about other people. As played by Isaac (who is terrific), Davis is a self-involved prick who, it seems, dares people to reject him -- which they do. The girlfriend (Carrie Mulligan) of his former folkie partner (Justin Timberlake) despises him because he seduced and quite possibly impregnated her. His response to her not altogether persuasive harangue is "It takes two to tango." But he tries to do the right thing for the wrong reasons and thus continues his descent. Inside Llewyn Davis is beautifully filmed; the smoky cafe scenes are especially evocative but it's not uplifting (has any Coen film been?) and despite featuring fine performances and great tunes might leave you irritated and exhausted like the characters on the screen. Recommended.


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