JOY (2015) Review From Korea

Hello. “JOY” to the world !

Keywords: Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Robert De Niro, Édgar Ramírez, Isabella Rossellini #Joy

This professor AKIA talking about movies that were released here in Korea. Today we have “Joy” (2015) starring Jennifer Lawrence.

Exposition Dump!

The first 3 month or so period in the year is an interesting time for the Korean box office. Unlike the Hollywood box office that get a lot of bad movies being dumped, here in Korea we get all of the smaller, award bait, artsy movies that were released overseas in the previous years. We get a lot of them too. In regards to the total number of movies released, there is no period like the first 3 month of the year here. Since we got the exposition out of the way, what about” Joy” (2015)? Well... it is a movie that shows crystal clearly where the limits of a director lies.

The Movie!

The movie “Joy” (2015) is a very standard human triumph story in which a single mother of two rises up from nothing to become a business success. That is the story. There is nothing more to it! It is a simple tale. So, who better to direct than David O. Russell?

The Director!

David O. Russell has directed movies such as "The Fighter" (2010), "Silver Linings Playbook" (2012), and "American  Hustle"  (2013). And I'm not the first critic to point out that his great talent as a director is telling very simply stories just with a lot of texture added to it. That it when he is at his best! The problem with "Joy" (2015) and to a lesser degree “American Hustle” (2013) is that the director is trying to do more. He is trying to be more;  a more diverse director. And that is commendable.

The Commentary!

The problem is that David O. Russell seems to be a one trick pony. This is very evident from the movie "Joy" (2015). The story of the movie is very simple and straightforward.  However rather than doing what he does best, David O. Russell tries to insert some arthouse surrealism, internal introspection, and even some early Tim Burton like fairy tale whimsy into the movie. This is especially evident in the first half of the movie. And the result is just awkward. The dialogue, the acting, the camera work, especially the editing is all off. It is such a weird experience seeing an experienced director like David O. Russell produce such an awkward product. In contrast, the latter half of the movie is far well put together as there is less of the experimentation and more the tried and true David O. Russell in it. Thus the overall experience is uneven.

What is evident is that David O. Russell had no idea how to handle the new surreal elements he introduced. Not only is the conceptualization and execution of them bad,but those elements aren't even well integrated into the story. As evidence, I spent an hour reediting the movie on my laptop and cut out a bulk of the first half of the movie without much problem. When all of the surreal stuff are cutout and the story structure is just a bit less linear, "Joy" (2015) becomes a decent 75 minute movie about a female success story. Not only that, it becomes a “David O. Russell” movie finally! And that is what we go to a “David O. Russell” movie for. That is his brand! What we got is a director trying to be someone he is not! And failing very so hard at it. It is a shame...

Created by Professor AKIA


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