Joel and Ethan Coen‘s Inside Llewyn Davis (CBS Films, 12.6) is about as perfectly composed as anything you’re ever going to see in a commercial plex. Perhaps the most significant characteristic is that it immerses the audience in character and atmosphere without “telling a story” per se. We all know that a good part of the popcorn crowd wants a story, generally speaking, and we might as well face the fact that they’re going to feel unsatisfied by this. But this is what high cinematic art does on occasion. By the time Llewyn Davis is over you’ve really gotten to know a bygone era and a consciousness that existed among West Village folk singers in the early days of the Kennedy administration (i.e., about two years before Dylan began to break out) and you know exactly where Oscar Isaac‘s Llewyn Davis character has been and where he’s going. It’s hundreds upon hundreds of bull’s-eye brush strokes that come together to make a really superb painting. Brevity, clarity, authority. I’ve seen it three times, and I could easily sit through another two or three viewings.