Movie Review: American Hustle (2013)

American Hustle (2013)
Directed by David O’Russell
Written by Eric Warren Singer and David O’Russell
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I finally had the chance to see American Hustle, I feel that I have read over the blogosphere mixed reviews on this film. From my personal perspective, I thought it was great, one of the best movies of 2013 and all the acclaim and accolades that have come forth for it are definitely well deserved.

The film is set in the 1970’s, which in itself makes for comedic moments, about a man who is a professional hustler or con-man, Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) and his relationship with Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams). Not only is she the perfect woman for him, beautiful and street smart, she helps him with his dubious schemes portraying herself as Lady Edith Greensley, a wealthy British aristocrat with the money to back anyone for a loan.

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Together the two are a nefarious team who can shake anyone down for some a fake loan and who like to flaunt what they have like fur coats and fancy Diane Von Furstenberg dresses. Although part of her wardrobe does come from Irving’s dry cleaning business.

The story is loosely based on the FBI ABSCAM operation of the late 70’s, early 80’s. In turn for their fake loan antics, the two get roped into assisting FBI agent Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper). They must deliver four arrests for him and he will let them go free. In a sense it did sound too good to be true to them, but they complied anyways to stay out of jail.

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The relationship between Irving and Sydney is contentious at times, one minute they love each other, the next they don’t even want to speak to one another. Irving cannot commit to Sydney unless he leaves his wife Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence), but he doesn’t want to leave her because of his son Danny.

What transpires throughout the film is not only emotional on so many levels for the characters and how those moments are portrayed is brilliantly acted out by all of the actors. Amy Adams does a phenomenal job of capturing the spirit of someone who is stuck and doesn’t know to how to wrap her head around the things she has done and come clean with her life. On a side note, she also looks extremely sexy in this movie, go Amy!

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Christian Bale, as he usually does, turns himself into another person in this film, although he is insecure about his looks, he has a sense of confidence for the crimes he commits and he could sell ice to an Eskimo as the saying goes.

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Jennifer Lawrence, all I can say is that she is the type of person; one cannot stop watching when she appears on screen. Her persona and who she is literally lights up the screen to sound cliché. Her New Jersey housewife accent is dead on and even my husband who is from there said she reminded him of his Grandma growing up. She plays the best crazy, highly emotional woman perfectly.

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Bradley Cooper also does a great job of a guy who just wants some recognition. He portrays himself to be what Irving shows to the outside world, but inside he is just insecure and almost a loser. He lives with his mom and he perms his hair for crying out loud.

images (What a sexy perm)

Other notable actors in the film who round out the cast and make it even more exciting to watch are Jeremy Renner, Louis C.K., Jack Huston, and Michael Pena.

The movie not only gives the audience a well told story that has meaning and depth, it is also visually stunning. The moments such as at the nightclub were awesome, it was very Studio 54 meets Saturday Night Fever, and gave us the feeling like we were at the club with them.

Many times when we go to the movies we don’t always feel like we are having fun per se, sometimes a movie makes us cry and feel like we are totally entrenched in the moment with the characters, but with that we leave the theater sad. Other films, like this one make us feel like we wish we were there with them. I wanted to know them more, wear a fur coat, get my nails painted red and drink a stiff cocktail with them.

Amy Adams;Bradley Cooper

If you have the chance to still see this movie in your town, I would recommend you go see it and give it justice by watching it in a theater and feeling completely immersed with this story and the characters. Overall great movie and it stands as one of my favorites of 2013.

}}Melissa

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18 thoughts on “Movie Review: American Hustle (2013)

  1. Great review, Melissa.

    I mostly agree. I think there a handful of flaws in this one, mostly in Russell not over-directing/over-writing, but on balance, it is very fun, very well acted and cleverly emotional. It is quite good.

      • Well, on the one hand, I think he is very smart, showing restraint with his camera and editing to keep the attention squarely on the characters and actors.

        But on the other, he over-relies on his soundtrack to set scene, mood and tempo, seemingly not trusting his actors and dialogue to create a scene (when both were perfectly capable of doing so).

        Worse, he uses about 100% more voice over than he needed. If he had cut out all of the voice over, and I mean all of it, we would have understood everything it tells us. Such is the skill with which he and his cast tell the story. But by keeping the voice-over, he winds up being guilty of telling not showing. Which is all the worse here given how well he shows the story even without telling it to us.

      • I just wrote you a really detailed response and it disappeared what the hell! 😦

        Thank you for the well thought out and written answer. I appreciate it. I love hearing and discussing this type of stuff and I am sure you know in real life there are few people out there who think like this.

        I have to say as you know, I did enjoy the movie and I think that the soundtrack does make it even more enjoyable. I actually like that aspect, but I can see your point and what you are saying that he does rely on those external factors to beef up the movie even more. Also the voice overs are extraneous and useless.

        I actually forgot about the voice overs until you mentioned it, so yes it was forgettable and pointless. As a viewer, the story was well written and there was no need for it.

        Ok I am glad you explained your viewpoint to me, that makes it another interesting way to think about the film. 🙂 Thanks!!!

      • I like the flick, too. A lot. I gave it a B+, after all. For the most part, I think it overcomes its flaws, largely because the characters and actors so interesting. 😉

        And sharing my thoughts … Not really something I have a problem doing. Really, I just need to learn when to shut up.

        Oh. And. Thank you for asking for an explanation.

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