Warning! This is a film with a big marketing campaign for them because it can attract viewers but it can also lie on what they are selling us.
I love David O Russell and the entire cast so I was looking forward to watch this film.
Better to be honest right now, it is not as exceptional as it looks. Given the profusion of awards and nominations, much was expected on my part. Dallas Buyers Club remains my favorite for the Oscars.
Speaking of the Oscars, the entire cast was nominated but the best is still Christian Bale. So of course Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams are great (especially Amy) but he is a scene stealer and he makes this movie, a must see.
At first, the film seems to be a sort of “Ocean’s Eleven” from the 70’s filled with exuberant wigs and crazy costumes, an excuse to show how the cast is awesome. But with David O Russell, the characters are always pathetic and complex.
Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) is a small time crook past master in his “art” and who falls in love with Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams). After being caught by an FBI agent (Bradley Cooper), Irving has to help con and bring down the mayor of a town in New Jersey (Jeremy Renner) determined to revive Atlantic City from its ashes and also while at it, catch a big mafia mob (Robert De Niro).
Quite simple baseline of the screenplay quickly becomes more complex as we learn to know the characters. The con ones are not necessarily those that we believed in the first place and above all we are ourselves manipulated by the idea we have of the characters. Some are smarter and more caring as one might think, and vice versa. As Irving said “nothing is all black or all white, everything is dark gray.” Christian Bale conveys so many emotions just with his eyes; the trap that closes on him and his distress is touching. This is what works here; these characters are over-the-top, almost ridiculous but are touching and we end up caring about them. The movie is filled with humor. It almost makes it a parody affecting which the appearance of Robert De Niro in mafia boss makes the climax. It could have been a wild Scorsese movie (this reminds me of The Wolf of Wall Street in some aspects).
Amy Adams is very sexy, J-Law delightfully annoying and wishes Bradley Cooper completely nuts, not to forget Jeremy Renner also really good.
Of course the music is great (the original score is composed by Danny Elfman) and they even have the luxury of having the Beatles or Led Zeppelin on the soundtrack.
To sum up, David O Russell is playing with fire by staying on the verge of ridicule but still manages to touch us and embark us in his frenzy. The screenplay is well put together and we see Christian Bale at the top of his art. Thus, plenty of reasons to go see the movie!