Ben Daniels’s review published on Letterboxd:
Inside Llewyn Davis explores what it means to be an artist. It's about the risk you take of embarking upon a creative career. It can be a cold harsh world, and sometimes question your loyalty to your profession. This film knows that better than anything.
The cold, blue cinematography radiates an air of bitterness about everything that goes on, and speaking of "everything that goes on", this film is largely plotless, instead focusing on the character, which, duh-doy, is pretty damn obvious considering the title. But not for a second did it feel aimless, as is the danger with these narrative structures, Oscar Isaac's performance is so captivating you're in with Davis the whole time. Even when Davis isn't the most likable character on screen, you empathise and understand, because through Isaac's powerful and pained delivery, you feel his pent up anger, his disdain for the music industry for it's neglect towards him, as he sees it.
The soundtrack is wonderfully fitting, filled with emotion bubbling under the surface, below a fairly subtle and sophisticated outward appearance. T Bone Burnett once again joins with the Coens for the first time since The Ladykillers, overseeing an apt and dense soundtrack you can now always come to expect from him and the Coens.
Of course, as with all the Coen films, the characters idiosyncrasies are nailed down perfectly, crafting wholly three dimensional people on screen you come to understand and love. The film's purported aimlessness is just another facet of the character. Through multiple road trips and scenes on public transport, Davis seems to be going everywhere, but at the very same time nowhere at all.
Inside Llewyn Davis is an excellent representation of the life of any creative artist, whether it be a musician, painter or indeed a filmmaker, there's going to be times you feel like Davis. And take away from the film what you will, of course, as it's a fairly neutral and bleak outlook at the end of the day, but if you're a person eager to enter the film or music industries, as I'm sure many Letterboxders are, this is a fantastically apt film, as I think it just tells you to do what you love in life, because you will be put down by people, it won't be easy, and you might not become the next big thing, but there's always a chance that you very well might earn a living doing the thing you love, and missing that opportunity would be one of the worst things you can do.