Movie Review: American Hustle (2013)

David O. Russell in recent years has come out with a slew of sly, smart comedy’s taking on all kinds of subject matters. From a boxer trying to win a championship while being trained by his junkie brother (the Fighter) to two completely dysfunctional people trying to win a dance competition (Silver Lining Playbook). His newest movie is a comedy as well, one that fits into the mold that Russell has created with his last two films. American Hustle continues Russell's journey down this comedy pathway and is probably one of his best films to date.

After being caught by the FBI both Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) and Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams) are forced to use their conning skills to help an ambitious FBI Agent Richie DI Maso (Bradley Cooper). They come up with an elaborate plan to snag politicians and mobsters. Their plan is to pose as advisors to a fake sheikh and convince the politicians to take bribes. All of this leads to an unpredictable conclusion that leaves all of them in a different state of mind from when they started.

David O. Russell has a knack for making these kinds of films as evidence from his last two films. That might have something to do with his cast. He has previously worked with five of them. Christian Bale and Amy Adams in the Fighter and Bradley Cooper, Robert De Niro and Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Lining Playbook. All of them play their roles effortlessly maybe because of their familiarity and comfort with each other. They all do an amazing job pulling the audience in and never having a dull moment. Although Robert De Niro and Jennifer Lawrence are not in it as much they both put on great performances. When you think De Niro you think gangster so it’s no surprise that he plays his role here so naturally. Lawrence is probably the only one that really never seems to fit in. The movie would have probably played out a lot more smother if she wasn’t in it since her character is a give away but she does a good job with what she is given.

Looking sly.
Looking sly.

Doubtlessly the stars of the movie are the three main characters. Cooper, Bale and Adams. Cooper is hilarious as the over ambitious nearly pitiful FBI agent. He has this air about him that makes you feel sorry for him but also dislike him at the same time. Adams is great as always and turns out a great performance. Her British accent is so good that you forget that she’s only just acting. Bale is probably the standout. He always gives 100% of himself in everything he is in and that is evident by his appearance. He is almost unrecognizable as Rosenfeld. He’s the voice of reason in the film trying to balance two separate lives all the while trying to keep his cool.

Russell has hit the ball out of the ball park again. He has brought forth an immensely enjoyable film with an all star cast that put everything they got into the movie. It’s a cool, smart and funny movie that keeps you guessing until the very end. If you are a fan of Russell or any of the actors in the movie I would highly recommend you see this movie. 4 out of 5.

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