[Excerpted from a larger piece for my seminar]
Gangs of Wasseypur is what Robin Wood might refer to as an Incoherent Text—it continually critiques and satirizes the violence the film simultaneously celebrates and glorifies. As “cool” as many of the characters are made to be, wearing stylish clothes and receiving slow motion introductions set to rap music, they are often comically amateur. Their guns accidentally backfire, they lose the drugs they were trying to steal, and both sides walk into…
"Because Mizoguchi’s camera is often distant, it might seem like a passive viewer, idly accepting the images that lay before the spectator. But the way his characters move, always in reserve, always holding back, suggests a title wave of emotion that can never be reached. And thus The 47 Ronin is both a film of great honor and great tragedy, the possibilities of human desire are supplanted by social codes, a timeless tale repeated in so many of Mizoguchi’s films."
"Russell's most exciting moments are three-layered: a familiar narrative or comic convention is exaggerated into a transgressive act, then grounded with a flurry of humanizing psychological detail."
-Dan Sallitt, 2002.
American Hustle would easily fit into the same realm as Pain & Gain, The Bling Ring, and Spring Breakers in the excess/over-belief in the American Dream run of films that amounted to a lot of pointless trend pieces this year. Like these films, it is also fueled through the specific vision…
I could talk about how this film's structure finally achieves the blissful melancholy that has been at the heart of all of Wes Anderson's films. I could talk about the precision of his framing and tracking shots, and how often he finds visual comedy through a perfect edit, or the slight entrance of new material into the frame. I could talk about how depressing the film is, the hints of both a traumatizing past, and that in a way, Sam…