Thursday, January 09, 2014
The other half and I saw American Hustle, the new film from director David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook, The Fighter), a couple of days after Christmas. American Hustle brings together Silver Linings Playbook co-stars Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper along with Christian Bale and Amy Adams.
However, this time the story is a fictional take on the famous Abscam scandal of the 1970s where numerous political figures were caught on tape taking bribes and sent to prison for corruption. The story revolves around a con man named Irving Rosenfeld (played by a near-unrecognizable Bale) and the love-of-his-life Sydney Prosser (played by Adams), who has a killer fake British accent. Lawrence plays Irving's estranged wife (and mother of his son) with extreme Jersey flair. Irving and Sydney try to scam the wrong person (an FBI agent named Richie DiMaso played by Cooper who has a ridiculously curly head of hair) and end up beholden to the FBI. Cooper basically coerces Irving and Sydney to run a scam that will net atleast 4 arrests in order to be convinced to not press charges against them. Their first target is Mayor Carmine Polito (played by Jeremy Renner) who is convinced by Irving to use his political connections to facilitate investments to refurbish and redevelop Atlantic City. Hilarity ensues.
The script is clever, and Russell's pacing is designed so that the suspense builds as Irving and Sydney get themselves deeper and deeper entangled with more powerful (and more dangerous) individuals, much to the delight of the FBI's DiMaso, who is hoping to advance in his career by arresting "big fish."
At its heart, American Hustle is a caper film, as well as a love story. Both aspects are well-executed and this makes the film-going experience quite enjoyable. The ensemble cast works well together with no one member standing out more than any other. Russell is well-known for the work he does with actors and this is true here, with Lawrence, Bale, Adams, Cooper and Renner doing some of their best work.
Title: American Hustle.
Director: David O. Russell.
Running Time: 2 hours, 18 minutes.
MPAA Rating: Rated R for pervasive language, some sexual content and brief violence.
Release Date: December 20, 2013.
Viewing Date: December 27, 2013.
Overall Grade: A/A- (3.83/4.0).