American Hustle, 2013, USA
Director: David O Russell
Stars: Christian Bale, Amy Adams & Jennifer Lawrence
''Did you ever have to find a way to survive and you knew your choices were bad, *but* you had to survive?''
I ventured outside my room for the first time this month after many hours of movie watching...in order to watch another movie! I sat down to watch David O Russell's latest release, 'American Hustle', a film kinda based on a true story and featuring a star studded cast.
Christian Bale continues his freakish knack of changing his weight immensely for the role of Irving Rosenfeld, a lifelong hustler who is in a loveless marriage with his eradic and unpredicatable wife, Played by the always incredible Jennifer Lawrence, with whom he has an adopted son. Irving begins hitting his stride as a hustler when he meets his lover Sydney Prosser, the amazing Amy Adams, and the two pull off several big cons, until the paths transpire with an unhinged cop Richie DiMaso, Bradely Cooper, who forces them to skills to work against the mafia and crooked politicians.
I have pretty much liked all of Russell's filmography up to this point and I'm quite a big fan of his. The man does a great job in fleshing out characters and making the either memorable or relatable. So it comes as no surprise that this is the area in which 'American Hustle' strives. All the major characters, and even some minor ones, are really fleshed out and rarely will you come across a character that is one dimensional. I realize that Russell values character over plot which is great, I feel the same way, but it comes as a disservice to the well written characters when they are put into such an unremarkable premise. I didn't hate the story by any means, It just didn't move or entice me. It was entertaining but I feel like we as the audience were supposed to buy it as this wacky and elaborate hustle story where everything is almost to crazy to believe, it's not that kind of plot. There are some twists and turns but nothing that you'll truly remember. It is entertaining though and the great characters elevate it immensely.
'American Hustle' features a really star studded cast, which features three of my favorite actors. Christian Bale, one of my all time favorite and one of the best performers of his generation, gives yet another amazing performance and physical transformation. Although an excellent performance, this may only be the second time in which Christian Bale does not give the show stealing performance, that honor goes to the female Bill Murray, Miss Jennifer Lawrence. It's almost scary how Lawrence seems to be getting better and better with each film. She is most definitely the most memorable thing about this film, she is crazy and hysterically funny here, such a confident and fearless performance and it's telling when Amy Adams is only the second most beautiful woman on screen. Speaking of Adams, she is her usual amazing self here, essentially playing two roles, A lot of the narrative rested on her shoulders and she gave a powerful showing. I've become a bit of Bradley Cooper fan, the man was fantastic in 'Silver Linings Playbook' and 'The Place Beyond the Pines' and he continues that trend here, great great stuff from him. He played the role of a kind of sleazy and mentally unbalanced cop perfectly. I really can't stand Jeremy Renner, when news about casting of this film was released it came as a major disappointment when Renner's name was among the likes of his talented co-stars, I will give him his due though, he was good here. Even Comedian Louis C.K is awesome in his role. This film also had one of the most effective surprise cameos in recent memory! I won't spoil who it is but it honestly shocked me when he appeared. It was my dream to Christian Bale act beside Mr. Surprise cameo, so it was a great site to see. Great stuff all round.
I don't think 'American Hustle' is as good as Academy voters will have you believe. It will absolutely be over hyped and it will only be a detriment to the film. It's a good film though, well made, compelling characters and excellent performances. 'American Hustle' may just be my least favorite Russell film, but even at his weakest, Russell is an enthralling artist.