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American Hustle

Updated on March 31, 2014

American Hustle

Director: David O. Russell

Writers: Eric Warren Singer, David O. Russell

Cast: Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner, Jennifer Lawrence, Louis C.K., Robert De Niro, Jack Huston, Michael Peña, Shea Whigham, Alessandro Nivola, Elisabeth Röhm, Paul Herman, Saïd Taghmaoui, Matthew Russell, Thomas Matthews

Synopsis: A con man, Irving Rosenfeld, along with his seductive partner Sydney Prosser, is forced to work for a wild FBI agent, Richie DiMaso, who pushes them into a world of Jersey powerbrokers and mafia.

MPAA Rating: Rated R for pervasive language, some sexual content and brief violence

The art of survival is a story that never ends.

Sometimes life can be one big con. Heck, we might even have to con ourselves everyday when we go to work. Making ourselves believe that what we're doing is worthwhile, when in reality, we're just conning ourselves to get through the day.

"American Hustle" is a fictional story loosely based on some true events back in the 1970's. The story focuses on a con man named Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale), along with his partner Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams). Together, they run an illegal loaning business where they trick others into giving them non refundable cash deposits, to even be considered for a possible loan to help them get out of financial debt. Needless to say, they reject every offer by citing that they're very SELECTIVE in whom they loan out money to; even though they never had intentions of loaning the poor saps any money to begin with.

Irvin and Sydney are more than just business partners, as they do share a close intimate relationships with one another. However, Irvin is married to another woman named Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence), but he doesn't love her. No, he merely puts up with her. Why doesn't he just leave her you may ask? Because he doesn't want to lose his son in the divorce, so he puts up with her for his sake.

Overall, it seems like Irvin and Sydney run a pretty good scam together. But as luck would have it, they get caught by an FBI agent named Richie DeMaso (Bradley Cooper) , so now they're forced to play hardball with the government. Richie seeing this as a lucrative opportunity forces the two con artists to help him go after some of the bigger criminals within organized crime; along with the greedy politicians taking bribes and kickbacks on the side.

Things start to get intense, as Irvin worries about crossing some of these dangerous people. Yet, he can't afford to cross the FBI either, so he's essentially stuck between a rock and a hard place. And, that's pretty much all you need to know about this story in a nutshell without giving away too much.

For what the movie happens to be, it's not a bad movie per say. Although, I'd hesitate to call this a great one. The story is fairly easy to get into, and for the most part, the humor was fairly entertaining the watch.

Not to mention the acting performances were great as well. The chemistry these actors had off each other was simply amazing to watch. Christian Bale manages to pull off a sleazy fast talking con man with a heart of gold with ease. And, Amy's performance as the sympathetic, yet cunning con artist, was quite a treat to watch.

As far as Jennifer Lawrence's performance goes, I found her to be very entertaining as well. She certainly knows how to transition herself well into a role, as she plays a great manipulative loud mouthed spoiled brat in this movie quite well. Heck, it's hard to believe this is the same girl that played the tough heroine in the "Hunger Games" franchise, when you see her performance here in "American Hustle." I guess it just goes to show how great actors can become chameleons when it comes to taking on a role.

Sadly, that's not to say all the acting performances were great, as I sorely disagreed with Bradley Cooper's nomination for "Best Supporting Actor" at this year's Oscars. Don't get me wrong, he played an excellent bumbling FBI agent, who acted more like a greedy kid that was in way over his head most of the time. However, his performance wasn't that memorable.. But, for the part he was required to play, he plays the stooge FBI agent quite well. Hardly worth of being nominated, but his character did bring a lot of the comedy that made "American Hustle" a joy to watch, so that has to count for something.

"American Hustle" is arguably one of the most entertaining crime movies that I've ever seen. It has comedy, drama, romance and pretty much everything you'd want from a great film, in general. Granted, I would never dare put "American Hustle" up there with such masterpieces like "Goodfellas", "The Godfather" and etc, but it's definitely a lot of fun to watch.

Plus, the 70's theme was fairly enjoyable as well. Overall, I'd have to give this movie a three and a half out of four. Definitely worth checking out if you're into crime movies.

© 2014 Steven Escareno


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