American Hustle is one of those movies last year that talks about ripping people off, scamming and all that is seemingly conniving. Don’t get the wrong idea though, David O’Russell created this film with an ensemble so strong that they almost overpowered the film’s plot and each character made a stirring narrative that resulted to a film so flawlessly acted and smoothly executed.
Take for one the ever so versatile Christian Bale who made himself yet again, bigger and had to double the weight of his character from his equally stunning performance in The Fighter. Bale plays the part of Irving Rosenfeld, a con-man who partnered with Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams,) a very beautiful con-artist herself and was forced to work under an FBI agent Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper) to crack down politicians involved in the “Abscam Scandal” during the late eighties. Bale was, in my opinion at his best here with a charm so enigmatic you can’t help but applaud him secretly. That was also the case with Amy Adams who delivered a riveting and a straight A performance that supplemented Bale more angst and acuity in his role.
But you have to understand that this was not the case of prioritizing the leading roles. Nope, it’s not. Jennifer Lawrence who played Rosalyn, the chain-smoking better half of Rosenfeld explicitly pops up at every scene she’s in like she’s the boss. Lawrence could very well be the “heir apparent” on the throne held by La Streep. She’s just untouchable here and at any given year, she could easily win an Oscar even besting her Best Actress winning performance in Silver Linings Playbook. And then we have Bradley Cooper who wouldn’t let go and will prove his acting prowess over and over again. I never thought that Cooper could easily win me over a role so straight-up that he disappeared from it.
Now this is what’s a bit troubling about the film. It felt a bit contrive in a sense that it took some time to appreciate the story more than its characters. It’s a fine one though, a very fine one for that matter. I wouldn’t have much interest in it to begin with had it not starred Bale and Adams but for what it’s worth – the film was an affirmation of Russell’s attention to details and focus to what gives the movie a heart. It has a heart that moves people, a beating one that mobilize them and one that has its own mind.
Rating: 8.5 / 10
Director: David O. Russell
Starring Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Jennifer Lawrence, Jeremy Renner, Louis C.K
Nominated for 10 Oscars Category including Best Picture, Best Director, All the acting category and technical awards. (source)