American Hustle – Review
At about near the end of the film “American Hustle” Christian Bale’s character utters the phrase “necessity is the mother of invention”. And with that simple line I realized that what I had spent the running time of 2:09 was watching the best film for 2013.
Director David O. Russell whose previous works include “The Fighter” and “Silver Linings Playbook” has now crafted an amazing story out of virtually thin air and whole cloth a highly polished and sophisticated story with many moving parts of con artists, con jobs, double talk, willful deception, sultry and sexy romance, dysfunctional relationships, political criminals, federal agents, mobsters, witty humor and seventies music. And holding all of this rich mixture of cinematic attributes together was a rich and intricate story so flawless executed with such high energy and cleverness by an incredible assemblage of actors I am somewhat tempted to call Russell’s screenplay a work teetering on being an acting masterpiece.
Purely a fictional tale, “American Hustle” feels real and true to its time period of the late 1970’s, with Christian Bale playing “Irving Rosenfeld, a life long brilliant local con artist who works the local stiffs in his community out of their money through a scam that while not lucrative, gets the attention of FBI agent Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper). It’s when the FBI Agent DiMaso busts Irving and his partnering girlfriend Sydney (Amy Adams) that the film’s story takes off as Irving and Sydney are offered a way out of their criminal dilemma by using their con talents in helping the federal prosecutor scoring a much bigger fish in the form of a local New Jersey Mayor.
Played by Jeremy Renner “Mayor Polito” is a kind and good hearted family man who the FBI believes with the right amount of prodding is politically ripe for the picking into using some backdoor shady deals with a fictional Arab investor in fulfilling Mayor’s Polito dream of doing something good for his old childhood neighborhood in the form of building casinos and hotels in Atlantic City.
What ensues next is a story that feels like the best parts “Oceans11” and “Goodfellas”. More so, Director Russell clearly has drawn some of the best directing qualities from Director Martin Scorsese, as American Hustle feels uniquely like his brand of work. And while it is completely absent of the noted violence of a Scorsese film, American Hustle, is still able to capture all of the tension his films masterfully have offered in the past.
Once again, Christian Bale proves to me he is one of the finest actors I have ever witness on the big screen to play such a rich assortment of American characters over his career. Also Amy Adams was perfectly casted as the sultry and sexy love interest, Bradley Cooper is splendid as the high energy super aggressive FBI agent and Jennifer Lawrence who plays “Irving’s” ditsy, mouthy, over sexed wife proves her Academy Award last year was no fluke as she is deliciously riveting as the perpetual marital thorn in Irving’s otherwise happy life.
You can count of numerous Academy Award nominations in January 2014 coming out of this film, for most if not all of the principle actors in the film. Expect to hear nominations clearly for Screenplay, Custom Design, Director and of course Best Picture.
This film is rich in detail, execution and plot development. And while it is a highly involved story of cons and deception, American Hustle shines in the end like the way they use to make movies when there were no spy satellites, no high tech phone devices, no lap tops or micro chips. No, this is an ingenuous plot relying only on human ingenuity to move the story along with crispness and intelligence.
If you like originality this is the must see film for 2013
4 Stars Plus