Tuesday, December 17, 2013

[Review] American Hustle

With the enormous success of Silver Linings playbook there has been and still is a lot of hype surrounding director David O. Russell’s latest film, the 70s crime caper American Hustle; which opened here in Australia on December 12th but strangely doesn’t open in the United States until December 20th. I’m sure there’s a perfectly good reason behind that but I’ve never bothered understanding the finer details of varying release dates. I’m sure it’s very exciting for some people. I will admit however that it does feel pretty good to see a film of this calibre before the American public, bit of an early Christmas present in way.

Now to the plot; a talented and resourceful con man Irving Rosenfeld (Christian bale) with his partner and lover Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams) are forced to work with the FBI; specifically a wildly ambitious agent named Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper), who thrusts them in to the seductive and equally intimidating world of New Jersey powerbrokers and organized crime.

If American Hustle doesn’t end up as my favourite film of 2013 it will definitely still be the coolest film I’ve seen this year.  As a fan of 70s cinema I absolutely loved it! The overall look and fell is so authentic it’s astounding and there’s an overwhelming aura of style and sexuality that at times made the viewing experience for me almost visceral.  There’s plenty of substance to be found with a crafty and clever plot that kept me guessing well into the final act of the film, trying to figure out who was playing who. Also the rich, colourful and in-depth cast of characters who are so great to watch regardless if you like them or not; very distinct personalities.

Performances are nothing short of amazing! It’s so hard to pick a favourite, but I’ll say Christian Bale for the physical transformation he underwent for the role which is something he’s of course known for and rightfully so. I think he’s the biggest contender out of the cast come award season next year.  I was in a state of awe for about 30 seconds every time Amy Adams appeared on screen in a different outfit. Her performance as the tough, determined and sexy Sydney Prosser, a woman who has reinvented herself is by far one of the best of her career.  Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence are both terrific, especially Lawrence as the erratic and bored house wife of Bale’s character Irving Rosenfeld. And last of all I was quite impressed with Jeremy Renner as the passionate and energetic Camden, New Jersey mayor Carmine Polito; the most sympathetic character in the film.

The classic 70s soundtrack to this film could not have been more perfect. It’s not just a bunch of well-known hits throw about all over the place for the sake of it; they’re played just at the right moments for just the right amount of time. They worked great for conveying mood and tone.

Apart from being just a bit too long American Hustle is a fantastic film, a triumph of director from David O. Russell. It’s in equal parts style and substance and a most groovy throw back to the classic crime caper.

By Kevin Bechaz

Credit Where Credit's Due

Director: David O. Russell
Writer(s): Eric Singer, David O. Russell
Starring: Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Jeremy Renner
Runtime: 138 minutes
Release Date(s): USA: December 20, 2013 Australia: December 12, 2013


  1. i wish i could have loved it, but it lacked a whole lot of substance for me. but i do think it was fun and entertaining!

    1. It's also works a great dark comedy, I was really surprised by how funny it was. Thanks for reading and commenting Candice!