“American Hustle” is directed by David O Russell and stars Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Jennifer Lawrence, and Jeremy Renner.
David O Russell’s latest picture is yet another superior piece of filmmaking. “American Hustle” tells the dramatized story of the Abscam operation of the 70’s. It was set up to catch US politicians taking bribes. What follows is an incredible film with an A list cast all at the top of their games.
Christian Bale is Irving Rosenfeld, a highly successful con man. He owns a glass business inherited from his father, and a few Laundromats as well. Between this, he has his fraudulent loan dealings and illegitimate art trade also. He meets the powerfully seductive and just as cunning Sydney Prosser at a friend’s party. Prosser is played by Amy Adams with an unbelievable amount of sexiness. The woman is entrancing the entire movie, and if you ever needed more convincing to be wary of women and the power they can have to completely cloud you, she’ll only add to that. Prosser and Rosenfeld embark on conning together, as Prosser creates a British alias and front. They also become lovers along the way.
There is a problem though. A man named Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper) comes into play for a loan. He turns out to be a fed. Suddenly, Rosenfeld and Prosser have their backs against the wall. Forced to cooperate, a plan is then hatched for them to assist the FBI in bringing down four major players in the political corruption ladder. They reluctantly accept, and this is where the real games begin. What follows is a masterful tale of who is screwing who, and getting to know these crazy characters in the midst of it all is a real treat. Cooper plays DiMaso with an unsettling energy. He is so hell-bent on becoming a big shot agent, that he really thinks this operation is all his. His antics also provide laughs throughout. The sizzle between the ensuing relationship of Cooper and Adams’ Prosser jumps off the screen. Adams does such an excellent job in playing her character; you’ll be left guessing just what her true intentions are the entire time.
The main target is mayor Carmine Polito, suavely played by Jeremy Renner. He is involved in trying to fully take advantage of the new legalized gambling in Atlantic City. Also entrenched in this story is Jennifer Lawrence, who plays Rosenfeld’s wife. Lawrence yet again cements herself as one of the top talents in the entire industry, despite her young age. She plays an obnoxious woman, who is a complete mess and threat to everyone around her. She does it with great conviction. There seemingly isn’t anything Lawrence can’t do.
The operation continues to go deeper and deeper, becoming more dangerous and lavish by the minute. In the midst of it all, we can just sit back and enjoy to the tone of a great 70’s soundtrack, and wonderful 70’s clothing and hairstyles.(Bale’s horrible comb-over and beer keg gut are priceless, can’t short Cooper’s curls either) By the end of this movie, after everyone is finally done with their own personal manipulation and deception, you’ll be left fully satisfied. O Russell has delivered a Scorsese-esque period crime piece, with a little bit of comedy mixed in as well. He gets the most out of all his actors, who he has worked with on his past two movies, the largely successful “Fighter” and “Silver Linings Playbook”. Bale and Adams are a perfect confidence couple working together, and Bale and Lawrence are the perfect clash. They all deliver performances that can be argued Oscar worthy. In such a crowded field this year, it still wouldn’t be surprising to see them get possible nods given the reputations of all involved here. O Russell has yet again delivered a great film, one that will surely score a best picture nod this Oscar season. American Hustle is superb.
Rating: 4 stars