Spun a few words on this on the latest podcast, but finally realized that the problem with Diaz is rarely the length, but always the failed drama. So this is par for the course: a masterful 3.5 hours of time, nature, only occasionally punishing, before it turns into a movie where everyone just decided to become evil and kill each other. Good looking digital black and white though.
Discussed with Kim Morgan in the latest episode of The Cinephiliacs. Radical in so many ways—opening with 20 minutes of silence, a shift from NYC-served kitchen sink realism to a psycho-sexual chamber drama, and Garfien's masterful direction: pushy but not showy, played for silences, and an abstraction of space while letting the camera hang back. Funny to see him as part of the same school as Elia Kazan, because a lot of what works in the direction here is his restraint, while you can imagine Elia letting loose (not necessarily a bad thing, but he couldn't have pulled this movie off).
"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…