Monday, December 23, 2013

American Hustle is David O. Russell's best

The newest film from director David O. Russell, American Hustle, is easily his most mature work. Russell also directed Three Kings, I Heart Huckabees, The Fighter, and Silver Linings Playbook. Most of his previous films were solid, but none reached the heights of Hustle.

As usual with David O. Russell, there's a strong ensemble cast. The main character is con-man Irving Rosenfeld, played by a transformed Christian Bale. Bale gained what looked to be a decent amount of weight for the role and has an obnoxious comb-over. He does an excellent job of creating sympathy for what might otherwise have been an alienating character. This is Bale's second collaboration with Russell, after starring in The Fighter. Rosenfeld's wife Rosalyn is played effectively by Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams portrays his partner/lover Sydney. 

They con people out of thousands using the promise of loan for more, until they get caught by an FBI agent, played by Bradley Cooper with a perm. His boss is comedian Louis C.K. who does very well in a small role. Cooper's agent forces Rosenfeld and Sydney to assist him in taking down other con men and corrupt politicians. Jeremy Renner appears as the politician they're trying to take down. There's even a small surprise cameo from none other than Robert Deniro, who was uncredited and not mentioned in any of the advertising.

The movie is based on a true story, but many details have been altered, including the names of the characters. As onscreen text indicates at the very beginning, "Some of this actually happened."

As previously mentioned, American Hustle is more mature than Russell previous works, and has a distinct style. The cinematography is excellent, and a bit slower than usual for Russell. He seems to be taking cues from P.T. Anderson. Russell also strikes an interesting tone; the film can be quite funny, but I wouldn't call it a comedy. Hustle is definitely one of the best of the year. It deserves, and will probably garner, a Best Picture nomination. However, it's not quite as good as the absolute best of the year, such as 12 Years a Slave or Gravity.

American Hustle is getting excellent reviews and currently has a 94% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. At the box office, it's made slightly over $20 million.

RATING: 9/10

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1 comment:

  1. Though it definitely does feel a lot like a Scorsese flick, it's still so much fun that I couldn't help but get past that and just look on the bright side. Good review Kino.