A few months back, I was rather excited to see David O. Russell’s star studded movie “American Hustle, a film loosely based on the 1970’s FBI ABSCAM operation. How could you not be excited to see a movie with Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Amy Adams, and Jeremy Renner? Boy was I incredibly disappointed!
Please note that there may be some spoilers in this review.
After seeing Russell’s work with “Silver Linings Playbook” and “The Fighter”, I truly thought I was in for an epic treat with “American Hustle”. My first issue with the movie was the length. I felt like this movie was longer than 138 minutes. The character development truly consumed the movie. It really didn’t start to get good until the introduction of the true hustle plot point with Jeremy Renner’s character. As a fan of the hustle, con, heist genre, I understand that you need to lay out several plot points and twists. However, I felt “Hustled” in a way having to wait almost an hour in before things got interesting. Imagine how you’d feel if you had to wait that long for “Usual Suspects” or “The Score” to get interesting? Yikes!
The second issue I had with “American Hustle” was the artsy spin placed on this movie. What exactly do I mean by that? I could definitely see that this movie was made for Oscar consideration. There are certainly some genres that “artsy” don’t belong in. One of those being comedy and another in con movies. It seemed that Russell deeply wanted a Best Picture nod and assembled his cronies (Judd Apatow style) from “Silver Linings Playbook” (Cooper & Lawrence) and “The Fighter” (Bale & Adams). Whatever kool-aid Russell was handing out certainly worked with all the praise & adulation this movie received. C’mon Oscar, you really think this movie deserved 10 nominations? I guess they saw things completely different than me.
Putting these two really big issues aside, “American Hustle” wasn’t completely a bust. A big reason for that is the assembly of the cast. Each actor delivered in their role rather well. Amy Adams earned more of my respect after this movie, with Jennifer Lawrence in at second. I will breakdown each actor and give them a grade.
Christian Bale – I am not going to spend much time on this guy because he is just a solid actor. As always, he delivered another great performance as Irving Rosenfield. I don’t know how this guy loses a ton of weight for “The Machinist” and packs on pounds for this role in “American Hustle”. I digress a bit, Bale’s role as the smooth talking, lady lovin’, money hungry, con man was spot on. It was so on point that I give him an A.
Bradley Cooper – For some strange reason, I am very hot and cold when it comes to this actor. Maybe it is because he does play diverse roles or chalk it up to the fact that he will always be Phil from “The Hangover” series. Cooper’s character, Richie DiMaso, is a cop that is trying to make a name for himself while trying to be his own man. I have to say that I was rather “warm” with the job done by Cooper in this film. He definitely hit his mark as the pretty boy/flashy cop/lives at home with his mother. Plus he wears curlers in his hair which is very pimp. For that I give him a solid B
Amy Adams – Being a red-head with fair skin must be hard in Hollywood. However, Adams seems to know how to own it and proves that in this movie. As mentioned before my respect for Amy Adams is like a roller coaster ride. She goes from playing a bad ass don’t take nothing from anyone in “The Fighter” to the love interest of a major comic book icon in “Man of Steel”. However, Amy brings her “A” game with her role as Sydney Prosser. Fans of Adams certainly get to see their fair share of her in this film. The way she plays on the emotions of Bale and Cooper’s character is pretty solid. For that she earns an A- in my book
Jennifer Lawrence – Oh Katniss, you once again show off your acting range with your role as Rosalyn Rosenfield, the wife of Bale’s character. I disliked Rosalyn in this movie but I believe this character was not meant to be liked. In my opinion Lawrence did a fantastic job of playing the role. She was a drunk, drug using, Jersey wife that seemed dumb as rocks but was smarter than you think. Whatever you do, don’t leave her in a house with appliances or operate a vehicle. Lawrence earns a B for her role
Jeremy Renner – The “Hurt Locker” star stepped up his game to play Mayor Carmine Polito in this movie. As the mark in this movie, Renner’s character is caught in a tough spot with doing what’s right for his city while coming up with the capital to do so. As your typical politician, Polito gets caught up with the wrong crowd and ends up a target of a rather intricate hustle. You get to bear witness to his downward spiral and can’t help but empathize with him which I felt was the goal of Renner’s character. I think Renner could have jumped off the set of this movie and on to the set of Anchor Man thanks to his costume and hair design. I give him a B.
All in all, I think I became a victim of all the hype this movie received leaving me disappointed when I actually saw the movie. If it wasn’t for the cast and the time I committed to this movie, I would’ve walked out of the theater.
MBTC gives this movie 3 out of 5 clouds.
Have you seen American Hustle? Or would just like to comment to my review? Have at it. You know what do to!