American Hustle

Combining key cast members from The Fighter and Silver Linings Playbook director David O’Russell brings us this crime comedy drama  based partly on a true story.

When con artists Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) and Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams) are caught by FBI agent Richie Di Maso (Bradley Cooper), they strike a deal that they won’t get prosecuted if they assist Di Maso with four additional arrests. Things get complicated when a politican Mayor Carmine Polito comes on the scene and Irving’s wife Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence) gets herself involved.

As a big fan of Silver Linings Playbook I was excited to see this movie. However the experience left me rather cold. It may have been that I was expecting to see a different type of film. I thought it would a fun heist flick  with some great twists up its sleeves and although American Hustle has its moment it’s more a case of style over substance. I’m not sure what enticed a cast this talented to be a part of the movie-I guess they enjoyed working with O’Russell on his previous projects. 

The performances however are great. Bale, Cooper and Renner are all convincing in their respective roles but it the women who really shine in this film. Ever since I saw Adams in Enchanted I’ve been a huge fan of hers and she is fantastic as hustler Sydney, a woman who will do whatever she has to in order to survive. She’s tough, intelligent and more than a match for the men around her. She’s already bagged a Golden Globe and Bafta nomination for this role and I expect an Oscar nom will also be on the horizon. Lawrence also gives another amazing performance as Irving’s boozy, wildcard wife Rosalyn. A whirlwind mess of big blonde hair and ballsy attitude, she manages to be funny, hideous and vunerable often within the same scene. Another possible Oscar nomination should be within her sight.

Good performances aside the story is just not as strong. The plot rumbles on well enough but fails to captivate or intrigue as a good crime drama should do. I guess I was waiting for a really great plot twist or character reveal to come. However I just found myself not caring what happened to anyone in the film or how things would work out. It looks great and the cast perform well but all in all it’s not the modern classic I thought it would be.

Rating 3/5-a great cast elvates an otherwise average movie


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15 responses to “American Hustle

  1. Your final comment perfectly sums it up. It’s an alright story but the cast and performances are excellent. Nice review!

    • Thanks. I was disapointed with the story but a cast this good was always going to be worth watching. I just wished they had come together for a better film.

  2. I agree that these performances outweigh the rest of the film, so much stronger than the story they are situated in. Felt like O Russell was trying too hard to be a Scorsese or PTA to develop his own style.

    • Completely agree, it felt like the director was trying too hard to make the story look cooler and cleverer than what it was. Although I agree with the acting nominations I don’t think the film or director really deserved to be nominated.

      • Yeah, I think the moms will be misplaced acting wise unfortunately, since there is so much in offer here. Really hope Jeremy Renner doesn’t get ignored.

      • Unfortunately all the focus and awards seem to be towards the other four actors, which is a shame he gets ignored. It might be because his character was more subtle than the others. Strangely he was also the most likeable character in it.

      • He was far and away the most relatable character in the film. It seems to be the recurring theme that villainous characters get the most award season attention.

  3. Good review Lauren. Everybody here is such a blast to watch that, if I found any problems, they didn’t bother me too much. I just sat back and enjoyed the show.

  4. Style and substance I thought, I was gripped all the way through and loved the characters. Its Russell’s style to concentrate on the character study so it lived up to my expectations.

    • Although the characters were interesting I felt I wasn’t invested in the outcome. I think I was waiting for a killer twist that didn’t come. Maybe I set my expectations too high. The cast was great though especially Adams and Lawrence.

  5. Yeah, I thought the good in this was all about character and little about plot. But the characters were all so good! Loved the women and Bale and Renner stood out as the mayor.

  6. Great review yo, it is spot on. I just saw the film today and I feel like your review is my thoughts exactly, give or take a few details.

    I loved the cast, they were the key aspect that made the film worth watching. Jeremy Renner was my favourite character, I liked his story, personality and chemistry with the other characters.

    David O Russell is good director, The Fighter was good and Silver Linings Playbook was incredible. But this was alright without as much re-watch value.

    • Great minds think alike. 🙂 I think Renner’s character was by far the most likeable. I loved silver linings playbook but american hustle didn’t capture the magic that the previous film had.

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