Now that David O. Russell has successfully revived his career and transformed himself into a “serious” Oscar-contender filmmaker, can we stop focusing only on the awards potential of his movies and get back to just enjoying what he does?
Admittedly, it is amazing that the guy who couldn’t quite manage to finish the film “Nailed” has managed such a huge rebound. After all, there is no greater sin to the people who fund movies than wasting the budget of a film on something that never gets released and which has no way whatsoever to recoup the investment. For Russell, who already had a less-than-perfect reputation thanks to incidents around earlier films, including the infamous George Clooney scrap on the set of “Three Kings,” to not just manage to recover from “Nailed,” but manage to turn out a run of movies like “The Fighter,” “Silver Linings Playbook,” and now “American Hustle,” seems like perhaps the single greatest recovery we’ve seen a filmmaker pull off.
The film tells the story of a couple of con-men (Christian Bale and Amy Adams) who are making a pretty solid living with art fraud before they get approached by an FBI agent (Bradley Cooper) who figures out what they’re doing and presses them into service helping him bring down an even bigger target.
It’s a pretty simple premise, but what makes it a David O. Russell film is the way he appears to be juggling quite a few different tones, mixing comedy and the same sort of high-tension drama that he loves.
This cast looks like they’re having an insanely good time playing together here. Bale’s big gut and his combover alone are so fascinating I just want to stare at them. Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams seem to be doing some amazing hair acting here, as is Cooper. I will go see anything that you advertise using ELO, and while I probably shouldn’t reveal that to Hollywood, it’s true, and this trailer is a perfect example of why.
While there’s a lot of humor in the trailer, it looks like it becomes deadly serious before the ending, and I can’t wait to see it. I know there’s a fervor to immediately start talking about it in terms of awards, but more importantly, it looks like it’s going to be a pleasure to sit through. They’re still doing test screenings right now, so my guess is there’s still a few more weeks of tweaks before Russell hands it over, and as soon as he does, I look forward to seeing it.
“American Hustle” opens on Christmas Day, which is starting to look like a preposterous pile-up of presents for movie fans this year.