HuffingtonPost.com — Pity the poor musician, down on his luck. Nothing is going right. He has no place to sleep, no money in his pocket, his worldly possessions reduced to a box of unsold albums. His musical partner jumped off a bridge, and his friend’s wife, who is also his lover, is now pregnant and wants him to pay for an abortion just in case the kid is his. And the crowning blow, he’s lost the cat of his only reliable benefactors.
Yes, it’s a hard road for most musicians, but if taken with the Coen Bothers, bound to be entertaining. Their new film, Inside Llewyn Davis, launches us once more onto the breach of a tumultuous journey, in some ways reminiscent of their Ulysses saga, Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? But this time it’s through the world of the beat poets and musicians of the early 1960s.
Loosely based on Dave Van Ronk’s memoir The Mayor of MacDougal Street, Inside Llewyn Davis won the Grand Prix at Cannes. Set in Greenwich Village in 1961, the film portrays the folk music scene before Bob Dylan arrived, when the music was from all over America and the musicians were from Brooklyn.
Oscar Isaac plays the talented and mercurial Llewyn Davis. With his dark eyes and sensuous mouth, he’s perfectly cast as the beat musician who vacillates between brooding self-absorption and natural sympathy. His duel background as actor and musician make him a shoe-in for the role: Isaac played in bands before going to Julliard’s theatre school, where he graduated in 2005. His pitch-perfect tone carries throughout, whether strumming songs or negotiating abortions.