David O. Russell is a highly creative director who has, in recent years, established a unique style in his films. While his earlier comedy films were well-received and got his career moving, it’s Russell’s most recent films that made him a big-time, Oscar-nominated director and proved his ability to create entertaining films in a variety of genres. These are three must-watch films that contributed to Russell’s rise as a director.
“The Fighter” is a biographical drama film about the career of Micky Ward, an American boxer. The film follows Ward, played by Mark Wahlberg, and his rise to boxing fame and the troublesome road that he walks to get there in the wake of his trainer and half-brother’s drug addiction. “The Fighter” was one of the first films that proved Russell’s ability to create a highly emotional and impactful cinematic experience. Those familiar with Ward’s career and boxing in general will enjoy Russell’s telling of this influential story, but the attention put towards the Wards' family issues and drama make “The Fighter” a great film for anyone.
"Silver Linings Playbook"
In 2012, the Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper and Russell movie love affair began with the romantic comedy “Silver Linings Playbook.” The film follows Pat Solitano, a man with bipolar disorder who, upon being released from a mental hospital, goes on an obsessive mission to improve himself in order to win back the favor of his wife. As Pat fights and attempts to deny his condition, he meets Tiffany Maxwell, a mysterious girl with her own share of mental problems. Tiffany helps him get in contact with his wife, who has a restraining order on him, but she also sees through and challenges the outward persona he’s trying so hard to create. “Silver Linings Playbook” manages to combine sadness, romance and comedy with an impactful representation of mental illness to create a highly moving film. Russell’s excellent pacing and phenomenal acting from Lawrence as Tiffany and Cooper as Pat set “Silver Linings Playbook” apart from the average romantic comedy.
“American Hustle” is a crime comedy film loosely based on the Abscam scandal of the late '70s and early '80s. In the film, two highly successful con-artists, Irving Rosenfeld, played by Christian Bale, and Sydney Prosser, played by Amy Adams, are busted and forced to assist the FBI in unraveling a large string of corruption between politicians and dangerous criminals. FBI agent Richie DiMaso, played by Bradley Cooper, is a wild and chaotic man who often oversteps boundaries, but Rosenfeld and Prosser’s only choices are to follow his lead or go to prison. With “American Hustle,” Russell truly began to develop his unique style and created a very interesting take on '70s and '80s New Jersey. “American Hustle” is a wild, mysterious and surprisingly funny ride that serves as a testament to Russell’s ability to put interesting twists on previously established film genres.