“American Hustle”: Goodfellas, Once More but With Feeling.

'American Hustle".

‘American Hustle”.

American Hustle is so self-referential it goes past knowingness and back to sincerity, before going around for another half turn to end up staring at itself approvingly in the mirror. It’s post-parody.

It’s 1978, Donna Summer discos, the men all John Travolta and the women wear dresses designed exclusively to demonstrate that they have absolutely nothing else on underneath. Christian Bale plays Robert De Niro who meets a character played, obviously, by De Niro, playing a character connected (see what I did there?) to one he’d previously played in the Godfather. And so on.

If this were an academic paper, it would come in for criticism from the latest breed of French pseudo-intellectual, neo-Marxist, post-structural, deconstructionist literary giants on the grounds that it’s gratuitously post-modern, and far too clever by half. And, all too predictably, I loved it.

No strings attached.

Amy Adams; no strings attached.

I can see why it’s been getting so many lukewarm reviews. If you haven’t spent quite so much of your time transfixed by the silver screen, if in short you have a life, then its charms might very easily pass you by.

But for a select few the thought of a film maker being asked to re-make Goodfellas, only this time to do it like they were really, really in thrall to every conceivably aspect of America culture, and not just the music, films, clothes and mores, its very sound, will send shivers down your carefully constructed meta spine.

This is one of the most tactile films you’ll ever sink into. You can feel the hairspray, cheap nail varnish and the vinyl as it rotates beneath that unforgiving needle. And true to its college campus roots, your enjoyment is reflected and refracted through the visible pleasure that everyone involved on the screen is having at being up there entertaining you.

"I Heart Huckabees".

“I Heart Huckabees”.

This is David O Russell’s seventh film. His fourth, I Heart Huckabees is arguably the most unconventional and confrontational film made in modern Hollywood history. And yes I’m in the Orwellian minority of one with that film. I’m the one person that genuinely loved it. Well this is its exact corollary. The archetypal Hollywood film. And as such, it’s gloriously out there. But for heaven’s sake, see it in the cinema.

You can see the trailer here.

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Comments

  1. Never bores or is uninteresting, even at its messiest moments. Good review.

  2. It’s a blast isn’t it? I suppose we’ll have to go to the Wolf of Wall Street next, which is at least an hour too long by all accounts. Thanks for the comment! A.

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