The Phil Cousins’s review published on Letterboxd:
Like previous films of the - more and more mythical - Coen brothers, their latest picture also plays as an existential odyssey. The film tells the story of Llewyn Davis , a folk singer looking for gigs, a place to sleep and confirmation . Llewyn only has a bag with some clothes and a guitar, but gets saddled with a cat in the course of the story. Once the shabby man (subtly played by Oscar Isaac) was part of a duo, but now he desperately tries to make it as a solo artist. And that just won’t work.
The brothers place the story in the sixties, in a grey and wintry New York. By doing so, the film bathes in a grey, sad atmosphere, where bitterness and cynicism overcome nostalgia and tenderness. Of course it wouldn’t be a Coen movie if it wasn’t riddled with their genuine situational humour. At times very absurd, painful and sometimes very dark. Yet they do it in a less excessive manner than we are used to from this duo. There is the remarkably intelligent running gag with the cat that can be very moving at times. In this way the comic relief becomes more meaningful; a particular metaphor that tries to tell us something about the life of unlucky person Llewyn Davis.
When Llewyn goes to Chicago, to make it as a musician, the viewer is treated to the most beautiful chapter of the film: Llewyn is picked up by an arrogant, jazz musician (a brilliant John Goodman) and his driver, a melancholy, silent beatnik (Garret Hedlund). The trio makes its way through nightly mist trails and slow, swirling snow; a stirring scene that slowly unfolds like a beautiful poem, a sad tribute to the adventure of being on the move.
Inside Llewyn Davis has it all: a great script, actors who delicately portray their characters, and of course a great soundtrack provided by T Bone Burnett. Especially the two brothers should be praised, who once again succeed in adding a very special movie to their record. Perhaps their most poetic and understated film so far.