Viewed – 02 June 2014 pay-per-view
I was apprehensive when I first heard about this, and the only real reason I wanted to give it a go was the fact it was from famed directing siblings Joel & Ethan Coen, who have made some of the best movies I have ever seen, with a couple of missteps along the way, granted (Intolerable Cruelty?). Yet generally I’d say, they can do no wrong even if the subject matter this time, that of the week in the life of a singer during the 60’s folk scene in New York, didn’t appeal at first.
Oscar Isaac plays Llewyn, a guy who just can’t seem to cut a break, as he drifts through day to day life, crashing on various friend’s couches, trying to cope with a girl’s unexpected pregnancy (an eye-catching Carrie Mulligan) and at the same time looking after a cat he just can’t seem to get rid of. It’s quirky and full of oddball characters, something of a Coen trademark and yes we get a great cameo from Coen regular John Goodman as a philosophical passenger during a late night car journey. Yet it’s the star making turn from Isaac that stands out most, clearly a gifted singer in his own right, his lovable charm, even when he’s being disgruntled and obnoxious, shines and I really cared for his journey. Justin Timberlake turns up too as a rather hippy-ish lounge singer, and it’s a site to behold.
The movie is shot with a moody, smog filled noir-ish sheen and at times looked quite beautiful and add to this a collection of enjoyable songs and some emotional and make-you-ponder moments (singing to his dad in the care home, the meaning of the turn off to Akron…), even if this movie doesn’t reveal much or tell you a great deal about the era or the main character – time spent in his company is one I’d firmly recommend.
Verdict: 4 /5