Friday, December 20, 2013

American Hustle: Movie Review


Traded history for comedy to give us characters with a lasting impression.

“American Hustle” is the story of the Abscam scandal of the 1970s when the FBI was investigating theft, forgery and stolen art. The history of the story is likely sketchy at best which would explains why it opens with “Some of this actually happened” as opposed to the more standard “Based on a true story.” David O. Russell chose to just focus on the characters instead. 2013

Directed by: David O. Russell

Screenplay by: Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell

Starring: Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence

The overall plot and story is more on the uninteresting side rather than convoluted, but the convoluted nature of it is necessary because it really is just shady business dealings by shady business men operating in a world which none of us truly inhabit. And isn’t that what is supposed to make movies more exciting and inviting? They have created a world which we’re not in, don’t belong in, and to a certain extent don’t even want to be in. But we get to follow these characters who are not us, but still resemble us to a certain extent, and they get to live in this shiny world.

Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) is a con artist who falls for the beautiful Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams) who is a young, seductive con-artist-in-the-making. FBI agent Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper) is on their trail but he also falls for Adams’ sexy con artist. It’s a sensual story of con artists doing what they do for love and getting in trouble with what they do because of love. Sydney is just a mistress to both men as Irving is married to Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence), a young starlet who wants to steal everything – hearts, minds and money.

Lawrence has one stand-out scene in which she lip-syncs to Paul McCartney's “Live and Let Die” complete with yellow rubber cleaning gloves and a glamorous gown and up-do. Amy Adams is great through-out in a never-before-seen type of role where she is drop dead sexy and traded away her innocent girl routine in the opening seconds. The audience is going to fall for her just as all the male characters do.

“American Hustle” has traded history for comedy. The 70s hair and make-up is a source of humour, the FBI’s incompetence is a source of humour, and the biting dialogue is a source of humour. It’s a fun and interesting way to look at the Abscam scandal that rocked the lives of US politicians. These are some of the players involved that can leave a lasting impression.
Best of 2013