American Hustle

"Essential"

American Hustle Review


David O. Russell deploys his deranged genius to explore the real events behind Abscam, cleverly focussing on the inter-relationships rather than the details of the elaborate sting operation. So under the wild 1970s hair and costumes, we have a series of characters who are never very likeable but are still hugely engaging. Which makes this one of the most prickly, exhilarating movies of the year.

As the opening caption says, "Some of this actually happened". It's set in 1978 New York, where lowlife conman Irving (Bale) is making a decent living with his girlfriend Sydney (Adams). Although his wife Rosalyn (Lawrence) knows something is up. Things get even more complicated when Irving and Sydney are cornered by FBI agent Richie (Cooper) and forced to co-operate in a complex scam to entrap mobsters and dirty politicians, including the likeable Mayor Polito (Renner), with whom Irving strikes up a friendship. As things develop, the sting continually threatens to spin crazily out of control. And Irving starts to worry that Sydney is getting far too close to Richie.

Intriguingly, even as the story gets more and more insane, Russell keeps the story grounded in the characters and the way they interact with each other. So their shifting relationships, power struggles and internal jealousies take centre stage, blurring the details of the undercover operation into the background. This may annoy viewers who want clear insight into Abscam, but it makes the movie much more involving. And it gives the actors a lot to work with. Each of them delivers a powerhouse performance that blends the character's distinct physicality with a complex inner life.

We can't help but be drawn to all of them, even though - or perhaps because - they're losers and don't know it. In this sense, the stand-out performance comes from Lawrence as a woman who is utterly sure of everything and also completely misguided. The extended sequence in which she and Adams circle around glaring daggers before finally confronting each other is a masterful bit of writing, directing, acting and editing, mainly because the scene seems to be about something else entirely. And this is Russell's genius: drawing us in before he reveals what he really wants us to see. This may be a telling story of human survival, but it's also breathtakingly entertaining cinema.

Watch 'American Hustle' Trailer



American Hustle

Facts and Figures

Genre: Dramas

Run time: 138 mins

In Theaters: Friday 20th December 2013

Box Office USA: $150.1M

Budget: $40M

Distributed by: Sony Pictures

Production compaines: Annapurna Pictures, Atlas Entertainment, Columbia Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Fresh: 230 Rotten: 18

IMDB: 7.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Producer: Megan Ellison, , ,

Starring: as Irving Rosenfeld, as Richie DiMaso, as Syndey Prosser, as Carmine Polito, as Rosalyn Rosenfeld, as Stoddard Thorsen, as Paco Hernandez, as Anthony Amado, as Victor Tellegio, as Pete Musane, as Dolly Polito, as Cosmo Girl, Erica McDermott as Abbie Abrams, as Brenda, as Carl Elway, as Irv's Sheik Plant

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

After a number of films, TV series and stage adaptations, Arthur Ransome's beloved 1930 novel...

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

The original BBC sitcom The Office ran for 14 episodes from 2001 to 2003, and...

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

Bold and intelligent, this dark drama is a challenging portrait of the making of an...

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

This hugely enjoyable adventure is a loose remake of the 1977 Disney hit that blended...

The Shallows Movie Review

The Shallows Movie Review

With a simple premise and plenty of visual style, Spanish filmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown) takes...

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Watching this gross-out comedy, it's clear that the gifted cast and crew had a great...

Nerve Movie Review

Nerve Movie Review

With a premise that feels almost eerily current, this stylish thriller revolves around a phone...

Advertisement
The Carer Movie Review

The Carer Movie Review

Brian Cox gets the role of a lifetime in this warm comedy about living life...

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Writer-director Robert Budreau takes a stylised approach to this biopic of the legendary jazz artist...

Jason Bourne Movie Review

Jason Bourne Movie Review

It's been nine years since Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass collaborated on The Bourne Ultimatum,...

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

Veteran Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg (Festen, The Hunt) returns to a smaller homegrown story after...

The BFG Movie Review

The BFG Movie Review

For his adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, Steven Spielberg reunited with screenwriter Melissa Mathison,...

Finding Dory Movie Review

Finding Dory Movie Review

It's been 13 years since the release of the Disney/Pixar hit Finding Nemo, and filmmaker...

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

This is where the Star Trek franchise officially shifts from thoughtful drama into thunderous action....

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.