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Watch: What Do David O. Russell’s Characters All Have in Common?

Watch: What Do David O. Russell's Characters All Have in Common?

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 like
them. Here is a look at David O. Russell’s unpredictable characters
from 1996’s Flirting with Disaster to 2013’s American Hustle.

Films used:
Flirting with Disaster (1996)
Three Kings (1999)
I Heart Huckabees (2004)
The Fighter (2010)
Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
American Hustle (2013)

Jacob T. Swinney is an industrious film editor and filmmaker, as well as a recent graduate of Salisbury University.

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