This is Oscar Isaac’s fourth Cannes. He was here in 2009 with Agora, then Robin Hood in 2010, then Drive the year after. Actually, he’s quite the film fest fixture: at Venice with W.E. and Toronto with 10 Years. So it’s testimony to his quicksilver skills – or to a collective forgetfulness – that he was greeted at Cannes like a starlet emerged fresh from the ether. A miraculous discovery found fully formed on the shore.
“Is that guy a real folk singer?” asked the veteran critic next to me as the end credits rolled on the Coen brothers’ latest, Inside Llewyn Davis, in which Isaac stars as a Dave van Ronk-ish singer-songwriter seemingly destined for obscurity in early 1960s New York. “Where have you come from?” was the first question put to him in the press conference the next day. He didn’t respond. He just grinned and enjoyed it, clean-cut and scrubbed, almost bobbing with pleasure.