Movie Review: Inside Llewyn Davis

inside-llewyn-davis-finalLet the impeccable period detail, stirring folk music and dark comic details of Joel and Ethan Coen’s Inside Llewin Davis (B) wash over you, and you’re in for a film you can’t take your eyes or ears off. Newcomer Oscar Isaac is the standout performer as the titular vagrant ruffian whose sins in life are scrubbed clean each time he belts out cherubic tunes. The supporting cast doesn’t fare quite as well (not an awesome year for Carey Mulligan), except a hilarious John Goodman as a larger-than-life drifter and Justin Timberlake in a great studio sequence. Many standout musicals are set as history is about to blow a different wind (Cabaret and Hair come to mind), and the Coen Brothers’ fairly inert plotting at the dawn of a folk revolution seems to miss an opportunity or two for dramatic tension. But I think they’re really saying that soul-altering art can come from the unlikeliest of authors who may be footnotes at best in the record books. Like the cat that keeps getting loose in the film, a true artist remains untamed and elusive. Something tells me time will be kind to this curiosity.