Review: American Hustle (2013)

David O’Russell gets his friends together for a conning good time in 70s biopic American Hustle

Not one for change, director David O’Russell has hand picked a couple of couples from his previous films; The Fighter and Silver Linings Playbook to star together in his latest triumph American Hustle. Christian Bale and Amy Adams star as Irving Rosenfeld and Sydney Prosser, a team of con artists working in the 1970’s. When their trickery is discovered by desperate F.B.I agent Richie Dimaso (Bradley Cooper), he offers them a deal – help him in the arrest of several politicians/get him to be taken more seriously at work. Their main target is Mayor Carmine Polito of New Jersey, brilliantly played by Jeremy Renner. As the film goes on, the web of lies upon lies becomes tangled, and if Bale’s wife Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence) has anything to do with it, the outcome will not be easy.

American Hustle picks you up, throws you and leaves you in the seventies for its entirety. As a viewer, I really felt like part of that era (despite only being 23). Personally, the story itself isn’t really that captivating. Don’t get me wrong, I was never bored over the two hours, but that’s because the characters were more than interesting enough to grab and keep my attention. Considering Bale’s character is overweight with a comb over, himself and Adams have great on-screen chemistry throughout, and you can sympathise with Sydney over the fact that Irving has a wife at home, even though she is technically ‘the other woman’.

The only qualm I have with Sydney is the British accent she puts on throughout the operation. I found it difficult at times to grasp whether she was indeed being Sydney, or her cunning alter-ego Lady Edith Greensley. Cooper’s agent is a bizarre man, one who brings some comic relief to the film. Richie is a very unstable man who thinks his charm and good looks will get him everywhere in life, but Irving proves him wrong again and again, up until the twisting conclusion. Although she wasn’t given a huge amount of screen time, Jennifer Lawrence is her usual, amazing self as Roslyn Rosenfeld, Irving’s stay-at-home snooping wife, who refuses to divorce him as it’s against her family’s values. Her strong Jersey accent and erratic behaviour make her a pleasure to watch, and bring a light heartedness to otherwise serious situations.

O’Rusell has managed to get majority of things right, from casting to costumes to soundtrack. The solid casting makes the film what it is, and although the con artist story is sometimes a little too familiar, American Hustle was enjoyable enough to bag a few Golden Globes, and possibly a second Oscar for Lawrence.

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