It’s 1961 and Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac – Sucker Punch) is a musician navigating the Greenwich Village folk scene. Struggling to find artistic integrity, he’s a drifter who’s constantly looking for a place to crash whilst pursuing music producer Budd Grossman (F. Murray Abraham – Louie) to listen to his new record. We follow Llewyn as he plays the clubs and generally makes a hash of his life, all whilst babysitting a cat that has been locked out of his friends apartment.
After a few agonising months, Inside Llewyn Davis finally arrives on Blu-ray and DVD after its successful theatrical run (starting at 2013’s London Film Festival). The Coen Brothers latest effort is a true return to form with their trademark quirkiness present and accounted for. Throw in a soundtrack meticulously crafted by The Coen’s and legendary producer T Bone Burnett and you have a nostalgic tour-de-force that delights throughout.
Oscar Isaac has been present in many big movies recently but this is the first film that really shown his ‘leading man’ potential. The Coen Brothers have crafted a superb character for him to play with but Isaac brings a calculated nonchalance that benefits the drifter-like qualities of Llewyn perfectly. His arrogance and at times, flagrant stupidity, never affects you championing his cause whilst his singing is superb throughout. The dark comedy and the snappy dialogue also flows through him effortlessly.
The supporting cast are collectively superb with Justin Timberlake and Carey Mulligan doing stellar work as a folk duo invested in Llewyn’s life for very different reasons. John Goodman and TRON: Legacy’s Garrett Hedlund appear in brief but deeply involving cameos as unlikely travel companions to Llewyn (which is probably the highlight of this entire journey). Ethan Phillips, Adam Driver, Stark Sands and F. Murray Abraham are just a few of the additional gems on show too.
Inside Llewyn Davis is a brilliant movie that long-time fans of the Coen Brothers will thoroughly enjoy whilst being instantly accessible to those not familiar with their past work. Great dialogue, characterisation and circumstance all combine to make this an utter delight from start to finish and marks Inside Llewyn Davis as a triumph that shouldn’t be missed.