Saturday, December 21, 2013

American Hustle

Plot: Hustlers/grifters Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) and Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams) get caught scamming rogue FBI agent Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper). Richie uses them to entrap the mayor, congressmen and senators in a bribery scheme. Irv's wife Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence) is jealous of Sydney. Rosalyn's craziness drives the plot to its surprising conclusion.  [imdb]    [photos]

Review: A wild ride that's bulging with crazy characters in outrageous situations; it looks like a crime drama, but its really a comic satire. The events are so overblown, that we just sit back and ride with the ridiculousness of it all. The puffy 70's hair and the curlers just make it that much more absurd. The plot is believable since it is similar to the real events, and the performances were great. I loved all of it.  

Highlights were Jennifer Lawrence's crazy Jersey housewife character, and the clever dialog between the characters.The love scenes between Amy Adams and Bradley Cooper were electric.

Christian Bale animated his character well, but he was so over-dressed with the stupid hair and oversized glasses that I was too distracted. Still he must have been effective since he carried the story.

There is an early scene where Irv and Sydney bond while listing to  1956's Jeep's Blues by Duke Ellington - very evocative. The other music were old 70's standards that no one listens to because they are not very good. In a few places the lyrics match the action in a clever way. The cinematography is not flashy.

As mentioned, the male & female characters wear hair curlers at home. This is ridiculous, but the curlers signify when the character has dropped his/her facade. The facade is a major part of the "hustle."  One of the messages is that no one is authentic in public.

American Hustle shows absurdist randomness, petty corruption, and good deeds returned for bad, but in the end, there is galactic karma, as criminals go to jail, and the American Hustlers land on top. So keep Hustling.

Cast: Christian Bale, Sydney Prosser, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Amy Adams

Directed by: David O Russell

Rating: 4.0 stars:  Fun to watch, great plot, great acting, solid script. I want to see it again. 

More: Fact check here. Cleverly they only claim that part of the movie was true. Actually some of the most important parts were fictionalized. No docudrama this.

Even More: And why was Amy Adams shirt open the whole movie?