Review: American Hustle



There is a theory that bringing together those who are on the top of their game brings out the best in those involved.

American Hustle is the film that does just that. 

The names on top of the poster would have been enough to get me through the door. Each name is a bankable star in modern Hollywood. Each name has performances we all love. To see them all together and watch with a tangible sense of each actor ‘challenging’ each other in every scene to push that little bit more makes American Hustle a must see event. 

A fictional tale, although as the first text message on screen states “Some of this actually happened” American Hustle tells the story of con man Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale), who along with his equally cunning and seductive 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.

The first thing to note is the opening sequence in which we first see Irving donning his hair piece. A great opening shot which tells you everything you need to know about him. The rigorous, meticulous cover up of his baldness showing his need to con right from the off. You are repelled by him standing open shirted, belly exposed but have a respect for his craft. This sums Irving up throughout the film repellant in many aspects of his character, but you can’t help but respect his craft and his skills in the cons he carries out.

Cooper playing FBI agent Richie Dimasso has a wide eyed stare all the way through the film, keeping you on the edge of your seat as you never quite know at what point he will crumble. 

Then there is Jennifer Lawrence as Irving’s wife Rosalyn. Chaotic and comedic. Beautiful and dangerous. This is a character not to be messed with but a character you are drawn to. An understanding of her character is revealed during conversation regarding her continued use of a certain nail polish and the hold this has on Irving.

Director David O Russell has consistently produced films looking at relationships (The Fighter, Silver Linings Playbook being two examples) and this is no different.   This is a film about survival as the tangled webs each character weaves serves to do one thing and which is simply to preserve their own existence and their own lifestyle. 

If there are any faults to be found in the film (and I am picking holes here) it has to be said it is a little long and could have lost at least a good 15 minutes. Also the con job becomes so complicated towards the end it becomes difficult to remember who is conning who, though some would argue that is a strength.

Golden Globes have brought success it remains to be seen how well American Hustle will fare at this years Oscars. I won’t be surprised if the film and its stars get recognition. On this evidence they deserve it.  


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