Northeast Times

American Hustle’s star-studded cast does not disappoint

With a hu­mor­ous dis­claim­er about how some of the stuff in the movie ac­tu­ally happened, Amer­ic­an Hustle will grab your at­ten­tion from the start and nev­er let go. It’s got that cool 1970s vibe, an ap­peal­ing mix of com­edy and drama, and of­fers up lots of twists and turns.

The movie is based loosely on the FBI Ab­scam op­er­a­tion of the late 1970s, where FBI agents and con artists would join to­geth­er to take down cor­rupt politi­cians.

The all-star cast of Chris­ti­an Bale, Amy Adams, Brad­ley Cooper and Jen­nifer Lawrence each shine in their roles, but Lawrence is def­in­itely the standout, with maybe Bale close be­hind. 

Lawrence’s role here is a total 180 from all of her oth­er roles, es­pe­cially Kat­n­iss from The Hun­ger Games. Lawrence might need to make room on her mantle for a few more awards this year. She’s already been nom­in­ated for a Golden Globe and a Screen Act­ors Guild award, and an Oscar nod seems highly likely. Though since she won many Best Act­ress trophies just a year ago for Sil­ver Lin­ings Play­book, it’s hard to pre­dict how many nom­in­a­tions will turn in­to wins for her this year.

Al­most un­re­cog­niz­able is Bale, who gained 40 pounds for the role of Irving Rosen­feld, and rocks an odd hair­piece/com­bover com­bin­a­tion. Irving is cer­tainly un­at­tract­ive by con­ven­tion­al stand­ards, but there’s something charm­ing about this con man, and it’s easy to see how the aim­less Sydney Pross­er (Amy Adams) is drawn to him. When Irving re­veals that he’s a con man to Sydney, she throws cau­tion to the wind and be­comes his part­ner, tak­ing on a fake Brit­ish ac­cent to make their cons more be­liev­able.

Soon, their small-time scam op­er­a­tion is caught, and they are forced to work for the un­pre­dict­able FBI agent, Rich­ie Di­Maso (Cooper), who has big dreams of tak­ing down politi­cians. Rich­ie needs help from Irving and Sydney to set up his No. 1 tar­get, fam­ily man and pop­u­lar Cam­den may­or and New Jer­sey As­sembly­man Car­mine Polito (Jeremy Ren­ner). Now that casi­nos are leg­al in Jer­sey, Car­mine is a little too des­per­ate to build At­lantic City in­to the Ve­gas of the East.

Also shak­ing things up is Irving’s un­pre­dict­able wife, Ros­a­lyn, (Lawrence), who threatens to bring down the whole op­er­a­tion. Though her role isn’t as big as those of Bale, Cooper and Adams, Lawrence steals every scene she is in.

If you en­joyed Dav­id O. Rus­sell’s pre­vi­ous films (in­clud­ing The Fight­er and Sil­ver Lin­ings Play­book), you’ll def­in­itely like this one, which re­unites him with some of his cast from both flicks (Bale and Adams were in The Fight­er while Cooper and Lawrence were in Sil­ver Lin­ings Play­book).

I would have liked a more dra­mat­ic, off-kil­ter end­ing, but aside from that I really didn’t see much more room for im­prove­ment on this sol­id flick. It seemed to me that this movie fo­cused more on the char­ac­ters and their in­ter­ac­tions rather than telling a great story. It’s still a good story, but falls just a hair short of ex­cel­lence. ••

Movie Grade: A-

You can reach at shorbrook@bsmphilly.com.

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