Monday, December 30, 2013
Review: American Hustle (2013)
A Unique Gem About How We All 'Hustle' To Survive
Since I just reviewed a film that was made by a director I have always admired, now I will get into a film made by a director I have really grown to admire: David O. Russell. I loved his last two films, The Fighter and Silver Linings Playbook, and O. Russell delivers yet another masterpiece with American Hustle.
American Hustle is based on a true story set in the 70's about the ABSCAM scandal. An FBI agent named Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper) hires two con artists named Irving Rosenfeld and Sydney Prosser (Christian Bale and Amy Adams) to try and take down corrupt politicians, including the mayor of Camden, New Jersey named Carmine Polito (Jeremy Renner). But the one person who could cause the case to crumble around them all is Irving's slightly deranged wife Rosalyn Rosenfeld (Jennifer Lawrence).
What I Liked About It:
The thing that I liked the most about this movie was how their is no hero or villain. Pretty much every main character has some kind of fault and it is up to the audience to decide which character is more good or evil than the other. I really enjoy films that have characters who are grey areas and not just black and white because to me, it makes the characters much more human since everyone, and I mean, EVERYONE, has their faults. To me, it was interesting how David O. Russell focused more on the film being a character study but focusing on many different characters. I thought that was pretty neat. I also liked how the films was like a love letter to Scorsese. There are some instances that reminded me of the film Goodfellas, but I saw those as an homage rather than a rip-off. Some could easily look at this film as a rip-off of Goodfellas, but I personally don't. I just look at it as an homage.
Another thing that I really liked was the magnificent performances from the cast. Christian Bale is astounding as Irving, the con artist who, while he embezzles money from investors, believes in respect and treating people the way you want to be treated. Amy Adams brilliantly plays Sydney, Irving's cunning yet vulnerable partner-in-crime who pretends to be a British aristocrat. Jeremy Renner gives a very earnest and sympathetic performance as Carmine, the corrupt mayor who just wants to create a better life for his family and the state of New Jersey. Bradley Cooper gives a very rich and complex performance as Richie, the FBI agent who becomes drunk with power as he runs the film's main operation, yet he just wants to finally be the one pulling the strings and not just be second rate or at the bottom of the barrel, something that most of us can relate to. Jennifer Lawrence is such a scene chewer as Rosalyn, Irving's crazed wife and in the scenes where she acts crazed, Lawrence still conveys a wide array of emotions and Lawrence continues to prove why she is one of the best young actresses working today. Robert De Niro even has one scene, but in that one scene, he still shines.
What I Didn't Like About It:
Overall, American Hustle is a stunning character driven and entertaining thriller that succeeds from start to finish. It has magnificent performances from the cast, brilliant direction from David O. Russell and is a unique love letter to Martin Scorsese. This one I would highly recommend!