Let’s take a look at the films up for Best Picture Oscar, shall we? Let’s out which of the nine films really is the best, which one if the most worthy of your praise, and which one will probably win the statue come March. Those three things may not be the same thing.
David O. Russell’s American Hustle may perhaps be considered the third film in the director’s unofficial trilogy of genre experiments. Russell started his career with somewhat oblique and definitely stylish comedies like Spanking the Monkey and Flirting with Disaster, and exploded in earnest with his overrated wartime drama Three Kings (which is far shoddier and more meaninglessly stylized than you even remember). He took a playful detour into near-absurdism with his I Heart Huckabees, which is appealing in a cult way – it’s not often that we get a film as wonderfully weird.
Ever since The Fighter, however, Russell seems to have finally hit his stride, taking familiar – even clichéd – genres and populating them with his now-familiar brand of broad-yet-believable white trash and/or amusingly criminal characters. He then casts talented actors, squeezes great performances from them, and, in so doing, elevates the genre into something natural and …read more