Following The Fighter and Silver Linings Playbook, David O. Russell returns with American Hustle. O. Russell is on a roll and with an ensemble cast consisting of Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, and Jennifer Lawrence, expectations are high.
The film’s narrative follows a fictionalized version of the 1978 Abscam case. The Abscam case was an FBI sting operation to catch Congressmen and a United States Senator taking bribes from FBI agents posing as Arab sheiks on camera. The film follows Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale), a con man who meets a stunning and seductive woman named Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams). Sydney is attracted to him despite his beer belly and elaborate comb over. They fall in love and she begins to participate in his cons. Irving also has a wife named Rosayln (Jennifer Lawrence), a woman unwilling to get a divorce and who takes care of his son.
Irving and Sydney are busted by Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper), an ambitious federal agent. He makes a deal with them saying they will be released if they help him make four additional arrests. Richie formulates a plan to entrap mayor Carmine Polito (Jeremy Renner), which eventually becomes a plan to entrap several members of congress and the mayor.
The major aspect of the film that enticed me was the acting. This films incredible cast does a great job with the material. Christian Bale devotes everything to the role – as he usually does. Bale has been known for his constant weight changes for the roles he plays. He does it again in American Hustle by gaining quite a bit of weight to show off Irving’s beer belly. Bale’s acting is incredible and when he’s sharing the screen with other great actors, it only makes the film that much more entertaining to watch. Amy Adams does a spectacular job in her role. She’s stunning, clever, and manipulative – and as a side note, I don’t think she wore a single bra during the whole film. David O’ Russell once again brings out the best in Bradley Cooper. Jeremy Renner is completely underrated as Polito and deserves more praise. Jennifer Lawrence’s Rosalyn is unpredictable at times, yet she is also very funny. She does a great job playing her. The chemistry between the cast members is just amazing.
The storytelling style is reminiscent of a Martin Scorsese film, in particular, Goodfellas. Also, the film is a lot less serious than I initially thought it would be. It was surprisingly humorous. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. I’m glad David O. Russell went for a more fictionalized version of the story. The film doesn’t take itself too seriously and it seems like the director and cast were having a lot of fun while making this film. While the style is similar to a Scorsese film, I wouldn’t rank it up there with a Scorsese film. Not to say it’s a bad film, just that I wouldn’t rank it with a film like Goodfellas. American Hustle is fantastic in its own regard. While its plot follows that of a typical con movie, it has amazing performances and is just incredibly fun to watch.