Posted in: by Robert Horton, Contributors, Film Reviews

‘Inside Llewyn Davis’ excels despite insufferable title character

Oscar Isaac and Justin Timberlake

Greenwich Village in the early 1960s is one of those American scenes that people love to romanticize: the flowering of folk music, the nurturing of the counterculture, a new generation speaking its own language, giant talents like Bob Dylan breaking out.

What a moment, what a place.

Joel and Ethan Coen, the filmmaking brothers whose remarkable 30 years of moviemaking include Fargo and No Country for Old Men, aren’t buying the romance. Their film set in that Greenwich Village moment is seen without rose-colored glasses, with a hero who’s a self-centered jerk burning bridges like nobody’s business.

In Inside Llewyn Davis, it’s 1961, and Llewyn (played by Oscar Isaac, late of Drive) has been bashing his head against the folk scene for a few years already. He crashes on friends’ couches, performs for a pittance at the Gaslight Cafe, and treats his women friends with a special kind of callousness.

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