In shadowy close-up, alone on a smoky club stage in 1960s New York City, the titular Mr Davis (Oscar Isaac) sings a plaintive version of Dave Van Ronk’s ‘Hang Me, Oh Hang Me’. Accompanied only by his guitar, his stunning voice soars over the melancholy lyrics, emotion etched into his face. It’s a haunting, intimate and powerful on-screen introduction, and effortlessly sets the scene for a remarkable film that is both amusing character study and profound treatise about unrealised ambition, the cruel nature of fate and the omnipresent possibility of failure.
A Serious Man (DVD)
You cannot be serious…
It’s the late 1960s in the midwest USA, and Larry Gonik (Michael Stuhlbarg) is a normal Jewish man, trying to raise his family as best he can. His life is by no means easy – his troubled brother Arthur (Richard Kind) is sleeping on the couch, his doctor wants to talk to him about some test results and his kids are driving him crazy – but Larry is happy enough. Happy, that is, until his wife Judith (Sari Lennick) announces she is leaving him for the overbearingly pompous Sy Ableman (Fred Melamed). As Larry attempts to seek answers from three different rabbis, he begins to wonder what it’s going to take to keep the faith.