Best Picture Odyssey: “American Hustle”

When I was a little kid, I didn’t understand how keys worked. All I knew was that mommy or daddy stuck a key into the doorknob, jiggled it a little, and the door magically became openable. I didn’t understand that the turning of the key was what did it, and my brain didn’t have enough information to come up with a valid answer. So I decided that maybe if I put the key in the doorknob and shook it so that it made the same sounds that it did when mommy or daddy did it, the door would probably unlock. I tested this hypothesis, and of course it failed. I bring this up because it’s such a perfect metaphor for what’s wrong with¬†American Hustle. David O. Russell doesn’t know how to make a thoughtful, engaging film. He just knows what one sounds like.¬†American Hustle is him shaking the hell out of that key so that it makes just the right noise, and he gets the exact same result that I did.

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