American Hustle (2013)
Written by Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell
Directed by David O. Russell
Starring Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, and Jeremy Renner
2 hrs, 18 mins
Crime, Drama, Comedy
Article by Tommy Tran
From watching the commercials you might think American Hustle is a serious drama. Instead, we get a fresh, intelligent comedy for those who don’t want a simple-minded teen flick. Its laughs don’t trip over themselves. Basically, it’s comedy in its purest form. The 80’s are artfully recreated with its clothing, hair, and obnoxious accessories. The star studded cast shines with their gritty on-screen rapport. The cast is a group of A-List celebrities who have yet to take a misstep in their careers.
Bale plays a con artist, Irving Rosenfled, who falls in love with another con artist, Sydney Prosser, played by Adams. But there’s still the issue of Bale being married to Lawrence (Rosalyn Rosenfeld) and having a child with her. It complicates Irving’s life in a way that makes it funnier for the viewer. Cooper plays FBI agent Richie DiMaso who uses Rosenfeld and Prosser to convict Renner, playing Mayor Carmine Polito, of taking bribes. It’s all based on a true story, or as the film says, “Some of this actually happened.”
The story is slightly underwhelming only because not much really happens. It does resolve very nicely and is satisfying, but midway the killer performances and script are the only real pulls. But those alone are enough to pull it off.
Direction and Casting
David O. Russell has experience with Lawrence and Cooper in Silver Linings Playbook. Like Playbook before it, American Hustle doesn’t take cheap shots. It’s humor that makes you feel smart for laughing at it. He once again manages to outdo rest of the comedy genre with humor from the subtle to the outrageous. There’s that hilarious cameo by Louis C.K. playing Cooper’s boss who wants nothing more than to tell his fishing story.
Lawrence is truly the star of American Hustle. She is always off to new misadventures. Also starring in Catching Fire, Lawrence is a truly talented and versatile actress. American Hustle should be the movie for her second Oscar win.
Adams dons a British accent to fool people into thinking she’s royalty. She fools everyone, from the viewer to the other characters in the movie. It’s why Adams won a Golden Globe for this role.
We see Bale and Adams getting along very well at first. But as the story develops, a love triangle forms between Rosenfeld, Prosser, and DiMaso. At this point you don’t even know who actually likes who, or who you’re rooting for. That’s the genius of it. After all, Rosenfeld and Prosser are con-artists and DiMaso is a Fed. None of them can be trusted. Unfortunately Renner doesn’t get much of a part in American Hustle. He has enough screen time, but his character isn’t really fully realized. He does give Rosenfeld a microwave that ends up in the hands of Rosalyn. Only hilarity ensues from there.
American Hustle is a first-class film. It was intelligently written and thunderously acted. Those looking to make comedy films, look here. This is the way it is done. Comedy can be professional. Characters don’t have to be morons. They can be sophisticated and still be funny. Just like American Hustle.