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 con­ceiv­able 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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