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David Poland

By David Poland

Look Closer: American Hustle Image

Christian Bale;Jeremy Renner;Bradley Cooper

I was looking at this rather ubiquitous American Hustle image earlier today and thinking about how it seems to mislead about the movie. It reads, from a distance, as the 5 lead characters having a good ol’ time together.

But look closer (and you can click on the image for a much larger size if you like).

Only Bale’s Irving Rosenfeld and Renner’s Carmine Polito are really in that moment together. And Irving is working.

Bradley Cooper’s Richie DiMaso is keeping an eye out on something, looking every bit the undercover cop. Amy Adams’ Sydney Prosser is keeping an eye on Richie. And Jennifer Lawrence’s Rosalyn is playing to someone outside the frame, the center of attention without any real concern about the center she is in.

I don’t want to overstate it… but now I quite adore this photo. I don’t even know how intentional the choices I am perceiving in it are. But that’s art, right?

3 Responses to “Look Closer: American Hustle Image”

  1. Jeff B says:

    esse interpreti. To be is to be interpreted. Such is art. Something like that. I like to say that the essence of art is ambiguity. That doesn’t do much to explain still lifes, but oh well :)

  2. berg says:

    also look at the one sheet for The Councelor … it tells the whole story by who is looking where

  3. Tuck Pendleton says:

    DP – When’s the TOP 10 coming?

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MB Cool. I was really interested in the aerial photography from Enter the Void and how one could understand that conceptually as a POV, while in fact it’s more of an objective view of the city where the story takes place. So it’s an objective and subjective camera at the same time. I know that you’re interested in Kubrick. We’ve talked about that in the past because it’s something that you and I have in common—

GN You’re obsessed with Kubrick, too.

MB Does he still occupy your mind or was he more of an early influence?

GN He was more of an early influence. Kubrick has been my idol my whole life, my own “god.” I was six or seven years old when I saw 2001: A Space Odyssey, and I never felt such cinematic ecstasy. Maybe that’s what brought me to direct movies, to try to compete with that “wizard of Oz” behind the film. So then, years later, I tried to do something in that direction, like many other directors tried to do their own, you know, homage or remake or parody or whatever of 2001. I don’t know if you ever had that movie in mind for your own projects. But in my case, I don’t think about 2001 anymore now. That film was my first “trip” ever. And then I tried my best to reproduce on screen what some drug trips are like. But it’s very hard. For sure, moving images are a better medium than words, but it’s still very far from the real experience. I read that Kubrick said about Lynch’s Eraserhead, that he wished he had made that movie because it was the film he had seen that came closest to the language of nightmares.

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