Inside Llewyn Davis (Dir. Joel & Ethan Coen/2014)
Considering Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac) lost his band-mate to suicide, you assume this heart-wrenching drama has happened before the start of Inside of Llewyn Davis. We witness the aftermath as, to put it bluntly, he tries to get his shit together. Bathed in the dim-glow of a small gig in Greenwich Village or on the cold, icy streets of Chicago, the Coen brothers have captured the spirit of 1961. A cute cat may feature more than Justin Timberlake and John Goodman, but it’s Llewyn’s story – and Isaac’s defiant and yet forlorn portrayal of this corduroy-clad guitarist eases you into a cinematic, dusty vinyl sleeve. Through his couch-hopping and hitch-hiking, it’s clear that he exists on the grace of others. He’s not Bob Dylan and the Coen’s hint at why. Though conflicted, our folk-singer is a victim of his own lack of self-preservation – and never has it been so warmly embraced.