Irving Rosenfeld: She was the Picasso of passive-aggressive karate.
It is always a pleasure to indulge in the world of the 1970s. Especially when that world involves some clever plot narrative and an exceptional string of actors to acccompany this tale of conning.
'American Hustle' tells the story of brilliant con man Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale), who along with his equally cunning and seductive British partner Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams) is forced to work for a wild FBI agent Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper). DiMaso pushes them into a world of Jersey powerbrokers and mafia that's as dangerous as it is enchanting. Jeremy Renner is Carmine Polito, the passionate, volatile, New Jersey political operator caught between the con-artists and Feds. Irving's unpredictable wife Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence) could be the one to pull the thread that brings the entire world crashing down. (source: www.imdb.com)
The film starts off demanding the viewer's attention. Introducing heads on, one by one each character, letting us know throughout who's who and what's what; a technique that lets us focus more on each character's individual journey and dramatic unravelling. Everyone has it's own little story to tell; from the con-man to the corrupt police-officer sitting beside his safety desk.
David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook, The Fighter, Three Kings) is a cunning director, who cleverly popped into the filmmaking rader and made sure that we give him a chance. And boy, what a chance he got. The art of crafting visual stories is but a puzzle to him that he simply cannot wait to share with his audience. First indulging us into their lives, their small-town drama that seems to be taking on a more human note throughout the film. The intermixture between the comedic and the dramatic seems to have a key role in thickening of the plot, as it doesn't let the audience get weary of the variety of story lines.
Likewise, just as the story interchanges from one character to another it tends to be a bit demanding of the director to keep up with who's dealing with who and what's going on when. All this trivial information tend to get entangled something which can easily make for a complex viewing, something which is not very well received from the average viewer.
However, the brilliance here lies in the cast as well; the thespians. The talanted Mr. Christian Bale (The Dark Knight, The Machinist, The Prestige, American Psycho), who is the king of kings, a sort of Ozymandias to this entire expedition, portrays the key con-man, that woos and seduces his way through everything. Along the way, love seems to be his driving force, that ultimately leads him to a tone of redemption in his character. Bale is the kind of actor who put the phrase 'good acting' to shame; not because his in lack of it, but because he's in an overflow of it. His evocative presence on screen is something that we are unwilling to resist. Quite rightly so that he is also up for an Oscar of Best Actor.
Similarly so, the stunning and ever so glorious, Amy Adams (Enchanted, Doubt, The Fighter, Julie and Julia) she seems to bedazzle the audience; after one stops learing from her alluring physical seduction, he is in awe of what an incredible acting performance she gives out. Her engagement with her character, the warmth and her passion into the story is but a few examples that make one rethink of this hometown sweetheart who seems to not only blossoms in front of our eyes but engross us into her character's dramatic narrative. Adams is a worthy contender of this year's Best Actress nominations, and one should not underestimate her acting skills for she has come a long way and in 'American Hustle' she seems to be shinning as bright as she possibly can.
Likewise, it would be a terrible omission not to include the likes of Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, who both seem to have been somewhat of a charm for David O.Russell. In all fairness, David O.Russell cleverly put his two most productive cast actors from his previous films together ('The Fighter' and 'Silver Linings Playbook') and once again seems to have struck gold in the hearts of his audience and for the Academy's committee too.
'American Hustle' may not be the most brilliant con-plot story in filmmaking history but it's definitely clever, if not amusing to say the least.
Hope you enjoy it. Make sure to take notes on how to avoid getting caught. The key is to pay attention to the details.
American Hustle (2013)