(out of 5)
Another terrific example of how magical the Coen Brothers can be when they let go their desire to be cute about their favourite movie genres. This indelibly perfect tribute to the folk music scene in 1960s Greenwich Village has a superb Oscar Isaac as the title character, struggling and failing to make ends meet between performance gigs and railing against a world not interested in the depth and poetry at the heart of his musical style. He couch-surfs through the city during a relentlessly cold winter, clashing with acquaintances including more successful and popular singer Justin Timberlake, whose wife Carey Mulligan is bitter about her own affair with Isaac. The main character’s experiences all exist under the shadow of his having become a solo act following the suicide of his musical partner, meaning that Davis not only struggles to find ways to make a living but has to deal with people trying to get him to return to glory days that he cannot access. A perfect soundtrack, a host of great performances and some of the most beautiful imagery ever seen in a Coen brothers film (not to mention a genuinely adorable cat) make for a hands-down winner.
Screenplay by Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Cinematography by Bruno Delbonnel
Produced by Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, Scott Rudin
Production Design by Jess Gonchor
Costume Design by Mary Zophres
Film Editing by Ethan Coen, Joel Coen