Inside Llewyn Davis ★★★★½

As expected, I liked this even more on a second viewing. I was struck even more this time by just how bleak it is, following the titular singer/songwriter looking for a break, adrift in a sea of singer/songwriters, all looking for a break. This is not a success story, not a rags-to-riches story, not the story of a talented musician for whom the waters part and who finally reaches the audience he deserves. Nope, Llewyn Davis is just another footnote, filling out the margins of a scene, no matter how good he is or how hard he tries.

And yet, despite the fact that I'm making it sound like a massive bummer, it's a very enjoyable film and it's funny, too. Don't go in expecting the zany humor of RAISING ARIZONA, THE HUDSUCKER PROXY, or O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU?, though, this is definitely the Coen brothers working in the minor key, as in A SERIOUS MAN or MILLER'S CROSSING.

A great film all around, though I have a special affinity for the scenes between Davis (Oscar Isaac, excellent) and a bitter, foul-mouthed, heroin-addicted jazz musician played to perfection by John Goodman.

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