The complicated and neurotic characters of David O. Russell films

Movies made by David O. Russell are always interesting to watch because the he always works with the most phenomenal casts. Why is that? Because his movies are filled with the most interesting characters and that allows actors the freedom to just go nuts which lets us watch beautiful people do interesting things. Full circle.

Jacob T. Swinney writes:

A character in a David O. Russell film cannot be easily described in a few words. Russell’s characters tend to possess a variety of contradicting qualities that spin and twist throughout the duration of the film. It started in 1994 with the quirky, baby-faced pre-med student who just so happens to have an incestuous relationship with his mother (Spanking the Monkey). There’s also the romantic and volatile mental patient who wants nothing more than companionship (Silver Linings Playbook). And let’s not forget the pudgy, comb-over-sporting con artist with a heart of gold (American Hustle). With all of Russell’s characters, we often witness a turbulent assortment of emotions, ranging from one end of the spectrum to the other—we see greed and sympathy, violence and tenderness, neurosis and confidence. These characters are clearly not simple, but ironically enough, they usually have one simple desire. And while these characters may seem to be unlikeable on paper, in spite of their tedious and often aggravating complexities, we cannot help but care for them. Here is a look at David O. Russell’s unpredictable characters from 1996’s Flirting with Disaster to 2013’s American Hustle.



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