David O. Russell’s newest film American Hustle follows the story of two con artists who are being forced to work with the FBI to catch a corrupt Mayor during the late 70’s. As with most of Russell’s films, American Hustle features a fantastic cast starring Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper and Amy Adams as the films main characters, along with Jennifer Lawrence, Jeremy Renner and Robert De Niro in supporting roles. Russell’s last film Silver Linings Playbook proved to be a big awards winner, but will that success continue?… well let’s just say he will be collecting quite a few awards yet.
Written by Eric Warren and David O. Russell the story is based upon similar events that happened during the late 70’s but with names and large parts of the story altered. The screenplay features around the two con artists Irving Rosenfeld and Sydney Prosser (Christian Bale, Amy Adams) who while running a fraudulent loan business are busted by FBI agent Richard Di Maso (Bradley Cooper). Richard offers the two a deal for their release in exchange for helping the FBI with the arrests of more corrupt individuals. Just like Russell’s previous films, American Hustle is well written and the dialogue is never boring. The story is structured well and there is even a great little plot twist near the end of the film, which is just what I like to see.
The performances here are fantastic, Christian Bale who is known for being dedicated to roles absorbs the character of Irving to the point of growing a rather large beer gut, which provides for a rather large shock right at the beginning of the film. Amy Adams gives perhaps one of her best and slightly provocative performances which will certainly lead to her being offered more roles in the future. Bradley Cooper is excellent as an obsessed rather energetic FBI agent who loves to curl his hair and possibly suffers from ADHD. Of particular note is Jenifer Lawrence’s brilliant and believable performance as Irving’s slightly crazed wife who as a supporting actress gives us more energy than most. Last but not least, Jeremy Renner gives a great portrayal of a corrupt mayor with another laughable 70’s hair style who comes across as an anti-hero at times, which makes for an interesting narrative since he is the main target of the FBI investigation.
From the opening scene with Christian Bale’s beer gut and laughable comb over you are presented with a clearly 70’s vibe, eventually going so far as to having Bradley Cooper in curlers for a scene. During the 2 hour movie you are treated to many bad hair styles, fur coats, horrendous wallpaper which are all indicative of the era. Accenting the hair and make up is a fantastic soundtrack including the likes of Live and Let Die and A Horse With No Name. This all comes together with the help of a somewhat muted colour correction on the film to give a really great retro experience for the viewer.