MOVIE REVIEW: ‘American Hustle’


Film: American Hustle
Directed By: David O. Russell
Starring: Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Jennifer Lawrence, Jeremy Renner, Bradley Cooper, Louis C.K.

“Some of this actually happened.”

Those will be the first words presented to you upon viewing David O. Russell’s newest film, American Hustle. Based off of the late ’70s F.B.I. sting operation, Abscam, American Hustle examines the American dream through a fraudulent lens.

With a stellar cast consisting of Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Jeremy Renner, and Louis C.K., the film will guide you through the ups and downs of the loosely based Abscam operations. Within the real operation, the goal was to weed out corrupt politicians, those of which were in talks with Arab sheikhs (who were portrayed by F.B.I. employees) to help fund investments into Atlantic City. With the aid of a real con man, Mel Weinberg, the operation in reality is almost as preposterous as the fictitious one that O. Russell develops.

But, this is where the film truly shines. I don’t think there was a subject matter that could have been any better than the Abscam operations, for through the writing, and the cast, the film is able to succeed through ludicrous scenes and desires. Each character driven by their own twisted ambitions, the plot yields perfect opportunities for the entire cast to be illuminated. Many will be drawn for the lustrous performance of Jennifer Lawrence, and she is fantastic as usual, but the real treat was Amy Adams. Absolutely jaw-dropping in the role, Adams stole most scenes she was in. With a constantly changing outfit (though only in style, not size) Adams’ beauty and prowess overshadows many of the other well-earned actors she shared frames with.

Throughout the film we are treated to the versatility of Christian Bale. Portraying con man Irving Rosenfeld, armed with an amazing comb-over, Bale shows audiences his eccentric, and elastic, acting skills. Fixing as the center of the story, Bale’s interactions with the likes of Cooper’s DiMaso, and Lawrence’s Rosalyn, highlight the trials of living within an ever-conflicting landscape. It makes sense for Bale’s character to live in such vivacious waters, for the true essence of the film lies within internal reinvention, and for Irving, it isn’t an easy road to the end.

If you are not happy with your current situation, change it. Change your name, change your personality, change your accent, your future depends on your adaptability. Getting lost in cons within cons within cons, Irving has the predicament of keeping his internal ambition and desires straight, while being weighed by true feelings lost within self doubt. Juggling a misguided wife, a love affair, federal intervention, and sudden notions of regret, Irving must reinvent himself into the person he wishes to be, all while faking his way there. Sound familiar?

But, the film isn’t to be taken too seriously. Through Bradley Cooper’s wonderful portrayal of Richie DiMaso, and Jennifer Lawrence as Rosalyn Rosenfeld, insanity will ensue with only Bale, and short clips from Louis C.K., to bring audiences back to some sense of reality. Beautifully shot and written, American Hustle is a wonderful escape that presents itself as one of the better films from this year.



Review written by: Andrew Caruso — Follow him on Twitter

Drew Caruso

Drew Caruso is a Bostonian who, when not writing about music and film, spends his time getting lost in New England, reading books, talking about science whether people want to listen or not, and more. To see the thoughts of a scientist by day and a writer by night, follow him on Twitter.
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