Nov. 15--"Inside Llewyn Davis" is a feast for Joel and Ethan Coen fans.
Specifically, this study of a failing and flailing folksinger in 1961 Greenwich Village often brings back memories of the brothers' most musical movie, "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" (that film's T-Bone Burnett and Skip Livesay oversaw "Llewyn's" remarkably pristine and resonant soundtrack).
As talented but underappreciated Llewyn suffers one career setback, personal disaster and absurd indignity after another, it seems more and more like to resemble another Coen movie "Barton Fink." No one captures artistic misanthropy and the loss of creative love quite like this pair of unlikely auteurs, and with this latest work they prove they might be even more engaged by that subject matter than they are by offbeat crime stories.
With his soulfully angry, circumstantially cat-obsessed portrayal of Llewyn, Guatemala-born, Miami-raised Oscar Isaac achieves major find status.
And boy, can he ever sing out. Justin Timberlake and "Girls'" Adam Driver also harmonize beautifully, as does Carey Mulligan, at least when she's singing and not being the angriest beatnik chick in the world.
It's not all about the music, either. Bruno Delbonnel's moody blue cinematography is some of the best lensing of the year. Go see and hear; you'll be glad you did.
For more reviews and highlights from AFI Fest click here.
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