Oscar Isaac as Llewyn Davis and Carey Mulligan as love interest Jean Berkey.

Oscar Isaac as Llewyn Davis and Carey Mulligan as love interest Jean Berkey.

Joel and Ethan Coen take on a delicate piece of history with their look at the ’60s folk scene in their upcoming movie “Inside Llewyn Davis.” The first trailer provides a copious dish of angst and uncertainty, but how well it dissects the era remains to be seen.

It’s too soon to tell if the film has the same magic as pictures like 1996’s “Fargo,” the hilarious, but under-appreciated “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” and the sullen, over-appreciated “No Country for Old Men.”

Along the way, there have been some misses, too, like 2001’s “The Man Who Wasn’t There” and 2009’s “A Serious Man.” Say what you will, their remake of “True Grit” was also vastly over-rated, even if Hollywood loved it. It scored 10 Oscar nominations, although it won none.

Actors line up to star in a Coen brothers production, because their films have become an important rite of passage for “serious actors.” “Inside Llewyn Davis” is no exception.

It stars Oscar Isaac as wannabe folk singer Llewyn Davis, Carey Mulligan as love interest Jean Berkey, Justin Timberlake as Jim Berkey and Garrett Hedlund, John Goodman and F. Murray Abraham.

The film also has its source material to live up to. It’s based loosely on folk legend Dave Van Ronk’s memoir “The Mayor of MacDougal Street.” The key artery in New York’s Greenwich Village was at the heart of the ’60s folk movement.

Van Ronk was a seminal figure in the coffeehouse scene that gave birth to artists like Bob Dylan, Tom Paxton, Patrick Sky, Phil Ochs and Joni Mitchell.

It’s also a bit ironic that the Coens chose Dylan’s song “Farewell,” as the backdrop for the trailer. Dylan was the best known folk artist to emerge during that time, and also the most hated.

He abandoned the movement, switched from acoustic to electric guitar and developed more of a rock and rhythm-and-blues sound in 1965. Folk aficionados are still rankled to this day. Now that’s a movie.

More than likely, though, the Coens won’t go there. Instead, the trailer looks like a snark-filled romantic comedy. And that’s not saying much. Check out the film below, let us know your thoughts and follow the TheImproper on Twitter for more film news.


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