Hello, lovelies. Beau here, gone for far too long, with something that I've been racking my brain over for the better part of two months.
Much has already been said about American Hustle, on this site and throughout the internet in general, and the film has taken on a kind of love-it-or-hate-it reputation that makes it seem even more controversial than Scorsese's touted lightning rod, The Wolf of Wall Street. Whereas that film is richly deserving of its many dissenting opinions, the criticisms being levied at Hustle tend to direct themselves at its lightness, so to speak. A puff pastry strutting about in sequins. Indeed, the general consensus for a long period of time was that the film was too light to be considered a threat for the Oscar for Best Picture. Its themes of survival are dwarfed by Gravity, a film where said theme is made literal and considerable. Themes of deception are dwarfed by the hedonists of Wolf of Wall Street. Jennifer Lawrence's show-stopping performance in particular has become a source of contention, with mentions of miscasting, ageism, an inconsistent accent all to blame.
And while I have my own reservations about the film, there has been one particular element of the picture that's been thrashing about in my head, one performance that I can't seem to lay my finger on entirely. It evades me, like a crook whose face I know and can identify, but who always seems just out of my grasp. [More...]