Outstanding Director Award – David O. Russell

russell-articleInlineReviewed by Mirass Jalil. Viewed at Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

First of all, David O. Russell’s “Silver Linings Playbook” and “The Fighter” is two masterpieces that deserves as much credit as possible. However, “American Hustle” in my eyes is definitely not a masterpiece nor is it a film that deserves an Oscars nomination. So when I got to Arlington Theatre during the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, to see David O.Russell accept the Outstanding Director Award, my expectations was low. Nevertheless, I immediately found him interesting and kind of forgot “American Hustle” for a while and just listened to his story and thoughts.

Both David O. Russell’s mother and father was interested in literature so he grew up in a household filled with books and novels. No wonder he inherited his interest in write and teach english from both his parents. He never attended film-school, which means that everything he knows about film has he learned on the job or by himself. He said that he usually memorize a 20 minute section from a few films, analyze that sections. He said that this method was the most rewarding one.

The kick-off for his career came in 1987 with the short film “Bingo Inferno: A Parody on American Obsession,” which got accepted to Sundance Film Festival. However, he didn’t know much about filmmaking and constantly felt that the film wasn’t really his. So when he made his second short film “Hairway to the Stars” in 1990 he did everything by himself; the editing, the writing, the cinematography, the directing and the producing. Through this experience he learned a lot about filmmaking and was ready to make his first feature film in 1994; “Spanking the Monkey”, which won several awards including Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival. After his second film “Flirting with Disaster” he had made a name of himself just enough to make a George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg film, “Three Kings,” which was highly successful. After his newt two failed projects O. Russell found himself in a low point in his life and essentially didn’t do any films. Then Mark Wahlberg helped him get back up again with “The Fighter,” which made him gain Hollywoods trust back and he was able to make “Silver Linings Playbook” and “American Hustle.”

David O. Russell is now one of the biggest names in the business with his 25 Oscars nominees. He is known for his handheld camera movements as well as his chaotic scenery. After this interview I respect him and his vision even more. His sense of humor and the way he took over the interview just shows a man that is comfortable as a leading role and a man that knows how to take control. A quote he said that explains exactly how much work this man puts into his work; “I make every move and scene as it could be my last.” Amazing director and writer with amazing vision, with an exception for “American Hustle” of course. It’s a two hour shady journey with fat suites, perms, wigs and awful acting from the most parts . The whole film is a hustle where they have convinced all of Hollywood to proclaim it a masterpiece with its star cast. American Hustle is under directed, it’s over acted and it’s paste like a snail.


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