January 26, 2014

That 70s costume


American Hustle (David O Russell, 2013). Over three films, David O Russell has formed a company of ambitious actors: Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence. All four are acting within an inch of their lives in American Hustle, drawing near-absurd character-based black comedy out of what could easily have been obvious Scorsese-isms (the music choices, editing, voice over). The art direction suggests that 1970s American magazine spreads have come to life and the hair stylists have had a field day. Could we rename it "I Heart the 70s"? "No more fake shit" is the ironic chant in a disco bathroom at one typically excessive high-point. Ironic as it's all gloriously, almost ridiculously artificial (everyone seems to be at least two people at once and nearly always in disguise). This is easily Russell's most pleasurable movie.