Inside Llewyn Davis ★★★★★

The artist who never comprises for corporate success. An archetype we admire - but only if they're successful. If not, there's a damning pit of stubbornness and failure waiting. Inside Llewyn Davis captures that bleakness, and almost hilariously dark vortex, amongst a moody backdrop of 1960s Greenwich Village. The problem of Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac's entry into the pantheon of great modern actors) is not that he can't catch a break, but that he's unwillingly set the groundwork for his not being able to catch a break. We both laugh and yell at his refusal to sell out to "just existing". Watching him fail is somewhat earned, but then he's almost hilariously punished for it by the universe. For a pride most of us are guilty of? He's not a bad guy. He can just be an asshole, sometimes. He tries to keep saving the cat he accidentally let out of a friend's apartment, though he fails to see his other problems brewing and turn his attention to those problems. Sure, he's created most of his roadblocks, but he's trying. He bears his soul in his singing, maybe cause that's the only way he can express himself. He's at peace, cushioned by a brief respite from pain he can make through his art. Maybe one day he'll be willing to make a compromise that will make him successful. Or maybe he'll create more roadblocks. At least they stem from an honest soul, deep down. It's a painful, melancholy tale to watch, made even better by the underlying, zesty whimsy of the Coen Brothers to really bring you back to that time.

Oscar Isaac's wonderfully raw little singing voice does some pretty heavy lifting. If acting doesn't work out, I'd love to hear an album from him.

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