Directed by David O. Russell
I got this movie for Christmas and had very low expectations. It seemed like generic oscar bait and while I was right about the general inspirational story line playing out in the fashion I figured, Russel managed to make the family dynamic the focus which gave it far more genuine human emotion than the manipulative tripe that generally plagues films of this ilk. The performances are all around fantastic. Melissa Leo is hypnotizing as always, never once reminding me of a past performance, and it’s hard to reconcile that Amy Adams is that same timid nun from Doubt. Even Mark Walhberg, whom I’m normally lukewarm on, was on his game this time, giving a solid anchor performance for all the others to feed off of. The real star here is of course Bale, who after a long line of somewhat bland heroic turns (Terminator Salvation, Public Enemies, and to a lesser extent the Batman films) completely reminded me of why I’ve been such a die hard fan. He may have actually eclipsed his powerhouse performance from American Psycho, but it’s hard for me to tell (my undying love for the other film clouds my judgement).
Very good movie.