Like their 2000 hit O Brother, Where Art Thou?, the Coen Brothers latest musical film, Inside Llewyn Davis, is a skillful blend of great songs, picturesque characters, and arresting images. The tone of this film is more somber than the earlier effort, but it still manages to tap into the collective consciousness of the early Greenwich Village folk scene, or the ‘great folk scare’ as it euphemistically referred to at the time.
Despite endless travails on his journey to non-stardom, the title figure, Llweyn Davis, remains indefatigably romantic and idealistic, exuding the dreamy, warm-hearted love of an affecting lyric and patient melody that inspired a generation that came of age with the election of President John F. Kennedy. It was a generation fascinated by the Beat generation, which rebelled against the homogeneity and hypocrisy of the Eisenhower decade. The film reminds us that, despite the commercial changes looming on the horizon, this was a time when folk music mattered and greatness wasn’t (necessarily) measured in dollars, vocal acrobatics, and overstuffed arrangements. Still, folk was show business, and not so welcoming to every wayfaring stranger. read more...