A new film from Joel and Ethan Coen is always a hot ticket at Cannes, and Inside Lleywn Davies, a stylish comedy shot in muted tones and set in the Greenwich Village folk music scene of the 1960s, was among the festival’s most anticipated screenings.
Five-star reviews poured forth after yesterday’s press screening – at which the New York Times’ Manolha Dargis reports “clapping, laughing and whooping” – including raves in The Guardian , The Irish Times and The Daily Telegraph.
Robbie Colin, The Telegraph’s film critic writes that the film “strikes the near-impossible balance of being uproarious entertainment in the moment and a profound philosophical treatise in retrospect, and you drift out of the cinema on an intensely weird cloud of existential angst and toe-tapping acoustic guitar music.”
“This is instant A-list Coens,” he says: “enigmatic, exhilarating, irresistible.”
“The pleasure of the Coens’ screenplay,” writes Tim Grierson of Screen Daily, “is in how it teases out character information about Llewyn… Played with charm and subdued anger by [Oscar] Isaac, perhaps best known for roles in Drive or Robin Hood, Llewyn is not the typical terrible-person/astounding-performer artist cliché.”
But Entertainment Weekly’s Owen Gleiberman was a dissenting voice among a near-universal chorus of praise. He concedes the movie is “lovingly crafted, eminently watchable, at times even inspired” but finds it “ultimately frustrating. Inside Llewyn Davis comes just close enough to being an authentic, deep-dish portrait of a vital moment in pop-culture history that I felt a bit of an eye poke when it also turned out to be one of the Coens’ masochistic/misanthropic tall tales.”