Cert: 15 Runtime: 138 mins Director: David O. Russell Cast: Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and Jeremy Renner
Did you ever have to find a way to survive and you knew your choices were bad, *but* you had to survive?
David O.Russell is having a bit of a career boom over the last few years with The Fighter and Silver Linings Playbook. His films have received great critical acclaim and numeros awards nominations. His choice of actors always seem to be his ticket to a winner, so this year we are feasting our eyes at American Hustle. It has been nominated for 7 Golden Globes and most probably it will do well with the Academy and BAFTA. So what is American Hustle? It’s the story of a brilliant con man Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale), who along with his equally cunning and seductive British partner Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams) is forced to work for a wild FBI agent Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper). DiMaso pushes them into a world of Jersey powerbrokers and mafia that’s as dangerous as it is enchanting. Carmine Polito (Jeremy Renner), the passionate, volatile, New Jersey political operator caught between the con-artists and Feds. Irving’s unpredictable wife Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence) could be the one to pull the thread that brings the entire world crashing down.
David O. Russell does inject energy and wit throughout the film. There is a Scorsese style to the film as we see multiple story lines, the use of multiple voiceovers and different viewpoints and even the brief flashbacks. Russell was able to bring us back to the 70s with the period details and he does want to replicate the look of a Scorsese film. American Hustle also has a great soundtrack, the mix tape worked well with the piece.Throughout the film the questions of who is really in control of the situation and the constant manipulation and power plans between the characters as Ritchie and Irving trying to gain control of the situation and show they are the one who knows how to handle the operation whilst the women in between the men also look for their own self-determination and in Sydney’s case her own survival. There are a few dull moments in the film, which is dissapointing. I can’t invision American Hustle becoming a classic, but still it’s a decent movie.
The ensemble is wonderful. Bale literally carries the weight of the film and creates a complex character driven by greed and his need for living the high life. Cooper energizes the film with a fervor of zealousness and brashness that sets all the antics in motion. Renner plays his character as a sincere dolt wanting his share of fame and glory with an exacting ineptitude. This male trio play off each other so very well. But it is their female counterparts that spin the film into the comic and strangely tragic stratosphere. With her many accents and characterizations, Adams’ Sydney conveys a full range of emotions from her street smart petty criminal to the elegant and sophisticated Lady Edith. Lawrence’s Rosalyn is a wonderful ditz, a floozy who is quick to react without realizing the consequences from her words or deeds. She steals every scene she’s in. American Hustle is a complicated mosaic of cynicism, questions of credibility, legitimacy and the art of illusion tempting desire. The energetic soundtrack weaves through each scene punctuating the activity; passages are episodic – some hilarious and others predictable. Absurdity nesting in farce can be sublime…those resplendent moments appear and vanish like the hypothesis of the film itself.