American Hustle ★★★

2013 Ranked

Third time watch (here's #2) and I still really enjoy it. It's right on the edge between 3.5 and 4 stars for me.

As pure entertainment I think it has few flaws. It's maybe a little long, and the story could be streamlined a little bit, but overall it's incredibly watchable for me. The performances are incredible. The soundtrack is fantastic. The camerawork shows talent and is occasionally almost even artistic.

It's beneath this entertainment that I find the film lacking. There's not really any emotional core to it. There are moments that hit me, like Adams's big reveal to Cooper, and of course a lot of it makes me laugh pretty consistently, but there's not enough order amid the chaos.

A few oddly specific things I like:
- I love the anachronistic dance sequence between Adams and Cooper. The energy is just perfect, and the movie never felt like a movie from the 70's anyway as much as it feels like a movie set in the 70's made in modern times.
- There's this incredibly simple repeated camera movement, a medium-close shot from face down to hands when a character is "talking with their hands" that is used with Bale, Cooper and De Niro's characters, and there's something about it I just love.
- Sorry if nobody's going to get this one, but there are several different elements which embody Lacan's objet a, from the fact that saying no makes Bale's potential clients more interested, to the garbage in the nail polish Lawrence's character loves, to the freaking genius ice fishing story. Some day I'll write a paper on this shit, but that day is not today.

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