For its entirety I felt like an outsider watching “Inside Llewyn Davis”; while my friend kevelled, rhapsodized, sang with the actors from commencement to conclusion. What was I missing?
The versatile Coen brothers paint a realistic portrait of the “folk” music genre, popular in the early sixties; Greenwich Village: grimy, seedy, smoke-filled bars; struggling, starving and in “Llewyn’s” scenario homeless, musicians. Oscar Isaac gives a melodically magnificent performance as the rootless, destitute, monumentally irresponsible singer/writer whose career has tanked and options are nonexistent.
Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake and John Goodman give solid, relevant characterizations, of individuals trapped in cages of their own creation; choices that have led to, sad, paltry lives; “Jim” (Timberlake) clueless of his wife “Jean’s” (Mulligan) indiscretions, exhibits a sliver of contentment, a modicum of happiness.
“Ulysses” a furry feline steals his/her every scene; a hilarious stroke of inventiveness; levity, momentarily alleviating the gloomy, doomed, “Murphy’s Law” journey of Llewyn.
As the film plods forward, and Llewyn exponentially resembles biblical Job; ennui reigns as the fate of our troubled songster dims; ignited briefly when he sings “Hang Me, Oh Hang Me”; metaphorically recognizing, that his era is sinking into an anachronistic void, his successful vision, kidnapped; his dreams cauterized; missing nothing, we empathize with Llewyn’s gravitas, but see sufficiently from the outside; shunning from venturing any further into the abyss.
THREE & 1/2 STARS!!!