Greenwich Village 1961. The Coen Bros. A sideways glance at the early 60’s pre Dylan folk revival. What is not to like in this movie?
Based loosely on the legend of folk hero Dave van Ronk, Inside LLewyn Davis is simply a lovely movie. A struggling, slightly tortured musician, (aren’t they all?) trying to find himself, a cat and a road trip. What could go wrong? The screenplay is just perfect as is the detail. Purists will argue that “it wasn’t like that” or “they have omitted this” and yet, everything is here.
The atmospheric Freewheelin’ style street scenes, hep cat pads with modern art, one room squats with shelves of records and slushy cold Village streets set the scene. A laconic and world weary Davis, played by a believable Oscar Isaac, can’t buy a break. Sleeping on floors, always broke, he shuffles from crisis to crisis accompanied by a cat.
The road trip to Chicago stuck inside a mobile with John Goodman is fantastic while final scene in the Gaslight Club is a master stroke. Then there is the soundtrack directed by T-Bone Burnett, corduroy jackets and beards (thank God).
Heartbreak, humour and hip- I just loved this movie. Along with the likes of Taking Woodstock, Like a Mighty Wind or Laurel Canyon, Inside Llewyn Davis is a period piece that joins that canon of understated quirky movies that are just a joy to experience.