I have to say this one was a bit of a mystery to me. It's left me feeling like it was a sub-par Barton Fink with Oh Brother Where Art Thou? music and occasional Odyssey nods.
The funny thing is that it's far from a bad film.
The script is great and peppered with a drier than sand sense of humour, performed exceptionally well by Oscar Isaac, John Goodman and most of the supporting cast and not so well by a bland, always miserable Carey Mulligan and a silly Justin Timberlake (both in, relatively, tiny roles), it looks beautiful, is, of course, directed perfectly and the music is sublime.
The story, such as it is, is simply a series of mishaps, both self created and "acts of god", that befall a poor folk musician in 60s New York, his ginger cat and the crazy cast of Coen-esque characters he, of course, meets along the way. There's lots to love in the film and as a portrait of a time, a place and a music it's fine but as anything deeper or better I am simply not sure. I know people will probably read all sorts of stuff into it and get their own interpretation and I know I need to watch it at least two more times to probably fully absorb it but I can't say on this initial viewing that it left me feeling like it was anything special and that's despite the dilemma and depression experienced by the central character resonating really strongly with me right now.
Definitely worth the watch but you know the Coens could do better and for all the serious tone, moody cinematography and allusions to something deeper, something better, this just feels like a place holder and a greatest hits of their recent work but the Coens spinning their wheels is still more fascinating than most film-makers giving 100%
7 out of 10