“Inside Llewyn Davis” is a transporting cinematic experience with a churl at its center, and how you feel about the movie may depend on how you feel about the churl. As you’ve probably heard by now, the film represents the Coen brothers’ affectionately jaundiced re-creation of the Greenwich Village folk scene of the late 1950s and early ’60s, viewed through the eyes of a fictional musician (see title) whose career has had trouble clearing the runway.
In essence, the film takes a prickly, self-absorbed hero and dumps a world of woe on his head, and it suggests that the Coens are repeating themselves. Llewyn Davis (played without a whisper of self-pity by Oscar Isaac) is cousin to Barton Fink and to Larry Gopnik of “A Serious Man” — the hubris remains the same; only the setting has changed. But where Barton seemed tormented by the youthful filmmakers and Larry by the cosmos itself, Llewyn’s his own worst enemy. If that makes him hard to take when he’s not singing, that’s the point.