18 ene. 2014

My Review: American Hustle (8/10)

"She was the Picasso of passive-aggressive karate."

American Hustle is an entertaining and fun film with the best performance from an ensemble cast all year. Director David O. Russell delivers a solid comedy and brings out the best from his actors which in my opinion really are the highlight of this film. I think American Hustle has been overhyped a bit, and perhaps I went to see it with way too high expectations, but despite being entertained and enjoying this I still felt like this was a bit of a let down for Russell compared with his other films. The comedy worked really well thanks to a slick and clever script, but the crime elements lacked some thrills. I also had some issues with the pacing of this film; it started off really slow and didn't pick up until halfway through the film when the science oven scene took place. A lot of credit has to be given however to the attention to detail because it really felt like a groovy 70's film. It had a lot of style and the hair and makeup in this film deserves an Oscar. In the opening scene where you see Bale's character getting a comb over you know you are in for a ride. American Hustle is an ambitious film that explores the American Dream and the need to reinvent oneself through some very memorable characters. The characters are the real center of this film.

The film is very loosely based on the Abscam political scandal that took place during the 70's in New Jersey. Irving (Christian Bale) is a successful con man who has survived thanks to keeping a low profile. He immediately falls in love with Sydney (Amy Adams) when he meets her at a party and introduces her to his world. She actually helps him thrive in his business thanks to her seductive powers, but they get into trouble with the law when an FBI agent named Richie DiMaso catches up with their illegal actions. Being the ambitious agent that he is, Richie doesn't want to settle for these small crooks and forces them to help him catch bigger fish like corrupt politicians and power-brokers. Sydney tries to convince Irving to flee the country together, but he doesn't want to leave his son with his unpredictable wife, Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence) who would never let him take the boy. Things get dangerous when the mafia get involved in the scam and Irving befriends the local Mayor, Carmine (Jeremy Renner), who despite having good intentions gets caught up in the middle of the mess. Irving and Sydney will have to pull out their greatest con job if they want to come out of this alive.

This entertaining and ambitious film succeeds thanks to a wonderful cast. Christian Bale and Amy Adams give outstanding performances in the lead role. Bale went through an extreme physical change gaining several pounds for his role and Adams looks sexier than ever with all the 70's glamour. They are completely believable in their roles and share several funny moments on screen. Bradley Cooper is also great as the wild and impulsive FBI agent who wants to get to the top as quick as possible. The scenes he shares with Louis C.K. are hilarious. Jeremy Renner is probably the weakest character in this film, but his quiet performance is solid. Despite all these great performances no one stands out the most as Jennifer Lawrence. She truly shines in this film and deserves an Oscar for her supporting performance. She's unstable and volatile while being very manipulative and she's just extremely funny in this movie. It is a memorable performance and Lawrence is turning out to be one of the best actresses of our generation. The cast are responsible for making this film such a fun and entertaining one. The film may not be original or groundbreaking but it is a near perfect imitation of other great films kind of like the replicas of the paintings that Irving sold. "Now who is the master, the painter or the forger?" That's Russell's question for the audience for the audience to decide.

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