American Hustle (2013)
User ReviewsReview this title
I wanted to leave the theater and do something else after 45 minutes. No one else felt this?
When flipping through a friend's screen writing book recently, I read that the most important thing a movie has to do is have a main character that the audience sympathizes with, a main character that the audience roots for. Even in a complex case - such as the protagonist of August Wilson's wonderful play "Fences", whom we both detest and sympathize with - the audience must be drawn into actually caring about the main character.
This film didn't have a protagonist (that's not a fault - Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night" doesn't either), but still I could not have cared less about any character in this film. What was very strange, and a little unsettling, to me was that I felt this immediately, within the first five minutes of the film.
Another thing you'll learn from screen writing books is that amateur screenwriters use too much dialogue. This movie is a classic case in amateurish, dialogue-heavy scenes. Constant, ceaseless dialogue really bogged down the film for me. This film didn't have a single bone of subtlety in its entire body. Dialogue, dialogue, dialogue.
I saw in one of the trailers that this is a comedy - really!? I chuckled twice, and one of the occasions was in the film's first 30 seconds. There were several jokes that not a single person in the movie theater laughed at.
So, in summary, I guess I'm the only person in the world who didn't care for this one. Contrary to Mr. Roeper's assertion at the beginning of this review, I love movies but I strongly disliked this one. My favorite movie is Stanley Kubrick's "Barry Lyndon" - so maybe that explains it.
Christian Bale and Jeremy Renner are particularly effective in their parts. Bradley Cooper does a solid job with the most complex character in the film. Amy Adams is fine, but not award worthy for a change.
Watch "The Grifters" if you want a devilishly clever con-film, because it is 1,000,000 times better.
Honestly, the NY Film Critics Assn. must have gotten a con-sized pay off for calling this the best film of the year. Is it awful? No. But neither is it memorable. Fun soundtrack, great costumes, hair/make-up and photography can't make up for a plot which is dull and characters who are so uninteresting.
This movie was advertised and promo'd as a serious crime, corrupt drama and it came across as a comedy moreso than a drama. It was difficult to take Bale and Cooper seriously, and the only time I really felt connected to the movie that I thought I was going to see was when Deniro hit the screen. He gave the movie a little bit of credibility, however it was short lived.
The story is fictional enough, and it kept somewhat interested, however it was too long and should have been shaven back a good 20-30 minutes. It was difficult to follow Bale's character because you could barely understand a thing he's saying. I understand that's his character, however it doesn't add any clarity to the story. It just makes it that much more confusing to understand.
The acting was nothing to write home about. I enjoyed Lawrence's performance, however I enjoyed her comedy and humor, and that was just disappointing as I didn't want to laugh in this movie. I wanted to take it seriously and I wanted to see more crime, killing and drama. It didn't deliver this unfortunately.
Anyways, if you go to see this movie, just don't expect to see a top quality, Scorcese type of crime / drama, because this isn't it. It's a weak attempt at trying to copy movies such as Goodfellas, The Town, Italian Job and Oceans Eleven.
It does have a sweet sound track, but that's not enough to save this one.
But when a movie must resort to clothing its female lead for the entire movie in a dress whose neckline plunges to her waist, the viewer may conclude: (1) the actor cannot act and/or (2) the film is beset with massive script problems. Well, Amy Adams is a fine actor. (In Charlie Wilson's War she more than held her on with co-stars Tom Hanks, Julie Roberts and Philip Seymour Hoffman). Wish I could say the same about the script for American Hustle. Full of holes, meandering, lack of focus (do we really need flash backs every five minutes?), no tension and ends in a whimper.
When the director chooses to open his film with his male lead (a "brilliant con artist") gluing on a ridiculous toupee which is not part of a disguise, and which makes said lead appear more buffoonish than brilliant, the viewer may conclude (1) the script is scraping the bottom of the barrel for laughs, (2) the actor is sadly miscast. Well, we know all about the script. As for the male lead, I like Christian Bale, but he is out of his debt here. His role demands a brilliant, conniving, charismatic, fatherly, arrogant and essentially flawed soul. The movie cries out for Tom Hanks or at the very least Brad Pitt and reduces Mr. Beale to wondering through the scenes in a state of confusion mumbling his lines like a zombie.
Plot and acting problems aside you long for some good lines like:
Vincent Lauria (Cruise in The Color of Money): "I've been telling her that. I got natural character."
Eddie Felson (Newman): "That's not what I said, kid. I said you are a natural character. You're an incredible flake. But that's a gift. Guys spend half their lives inventing that."
Or from the Sting – the gold standard of hustler movies: "I don't even know you." "You know me. I'm the same as you. It's two in the morning and I don't know nobody." --Loretta (Dimitra Arliss) and Johnny (Robert Redford)
But alas all we have is a character who impersonates an upper class British woman yet only uses her fake British accent when she's introduced to someone. Really, who is she going to fool? Well, an FBI agent for one. He falls for the rouse, and you are not sure who is dumb and who is dumber. (Isn't the word "background check" in his vocabulary?)
None of this would matter if the movie garners a few laughs or gives the audience the vicarious pleasure of getting back at the SOB's of the world. But in the run time of 2 hours (30% too long), I heard the audience laugh (chuckle, really) for about a minute total in 3 or 4 of the scenes. And as for revenge on the SOB's, the target of the scam was the nicest guy in the movie (Carmine Polito, the mayor of Trenton played by Jeremy Renner). The real SOB's were the scam artists and the FBI.
In the director's chair sat David O. Russell, whose "Silver Lining Playbook" I really like. Jennifer Lawrence did well and Robert De Niro's cameo gave the cast an acting lesson. Bradley Cooper, the FBI guy, should have paid more attention to De Niro.
American Hustle has generated many reviewer kudos and Oscar buzzes, but I would save my money and buy popcorn at some of the other offerings out there. This one should find its proper home on a non-premium cable channel in the near future.
Disclaimer: Taste in movies is as individual as finger prints. You may love the ones I pan, which is terrific. Find someone who's judgment you share, or even better, watch as many as you can – the good, the bad, and the ugly. The best critic is always the one between your ears.
The problem is with the story, the film's pacing and length. Of course if I was enjoying the film the length would not be an issue. The film did not hold my interest and I was bored for most of it. I read that most of it is improvised, and I think this lead to it feeling very fragmented and disjointed. My mind drifted often and I checked my watch many, many times. What should have been a compelling, interesting movie was turned into a bore fest with several funny moments.
I am surprised at the overall extremely positive reviews and will watch it again when it is on cable but expect my reaction to be the same.
The performances were decent except for the lead FBI guy (sorry but neither his screen nor real name is worth looking up) who tended to overact. But ultimately the poor plotting & pacing and the cliché ridden visuals made this one I wish I would have missed; if there was ever a movie that proves how useless so-called professional critics are, this is it.
In an era of resurgent wealth and dynamic lifestyles, success is achieved with compelling ambitions amidst increasing competitiveness, only through some hustle. Right through his childhood years of conning people for his father's business, Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) used the guise of legitimate businesses such as dry cleaning to conceal his beguiling loan schemes. Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams), initially suspicious of Irving's businesses, soon becomes his partner in bed and crime. Her fake identity as Lady Edith Greensly not only attracts investors lured by her supposed British financial contacts but also by her revealing attire. Soon enough however, the con-artist duo is in the grips of FBI agent Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper) who intends to entrap a New Jersey Mayor along with several Congressmen. Aided by a wire operator and a bogus Sheikh Abdullah (Michael Pena) who was to provide the funds for the redevelopment, the hustling of mayor Carmine (Jeremy Renner) begins with Richie, Sydney and Irving hustling each other in the process. If that wasn't enough, Irving's loud mouthed, cleavage flashing housewife Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence) gets them all on the edge with her erratic outbursts and ignorance of the entrapment. This sexy looking inspiration of the Abscam operation lacks a fast-paced plot and intrigue that made other conman films such as 'Catch me if you can' and 'Argo', exciting movies. Loud characters protract several insipid sequences that outlast their importance from the script. The seriousness of the entrapment plot is often overshadowed with the digressed focus on the characters and their relationships and while this dilutes the story-telling, it isn't such a bad thing when you have such a talented cast. However, one can only go so far with just acting, good looks, sexy styles and 70s tunes. David Russell fails to engage the audience with a tight script and twists in a con-artist's story that are only few and far apart. Clearly, style over substance was his approach here with entertainment left solely upon the actors' talents.
Christian Bale put on 40lbs for this movie. It isn't the first time he has transformed himself on-screen and won't be the last. This con-man draws a line on his wrong doing and hesitates on going too big with the plan. His love for Sydney grows through the movie but always comes second to his son's well being. Irving has everything likable about him, even his weirdly meticulous wig. His softer, more intelligent character is a sharp contrast to his unabashed wife. Jennifer Lawrence plays everything that is wrong and right with the film. Rosalyn can be a big mouth, whining incessantly and trying hard to prove her worthiness. But she can also be the one character whose presence just makes you nod in disbelief about what she will do next. That uncanny ability and its unpredictable deliverance is surely Lawrence's talent at work that doesn't fail to impress. Bradley Cooper is a hot-headed FBI agent whose ambition gets the better of him. There are many scenes where he clearly improvises, such as enacting Louis C.K.'s agent Thorsen and the epic moment when Sydney lays herself out on the table for him, he gets so close and simply can't handle it. The most striking aspect of Cooper's performance is that his character is so unconvincing. He is ambitious and he has the con-artists by their necks in his elaborate plan but he is still an amateur who is guided by instinct rather than experience. Jeremy Renner's Mayor Carmine shows his devotion to his city and while it took some major hustling to draw him into the plan, those interactions with Irving were quite a delight to watch. Amy Adams looks sensational and sizzles in the chemistry she builds with Irving and Richie. She portrays wit, grace and spontaneity as they adapt to changing scenarios during the sting operation and remains ever focused on the plan. Adams may not be as loud as Lawrence nor as multi-dimensional so to speak but her screen presence is equally alluring.
David Russell hasn't showcased his fine talents in a script that needed to be funnier, wittier and tighter. The actors improvise on their greyish characters and provide more entertainment than the script possibly could. That certainly isn't the film-maker's achievement but he did choose the right cast that could pull that con off on the audience. Perhaps that is the year's biggest hustle from Hollywood that bends the audience into liking material that is portrayed to be far greater than it should be accorded for. Enjoy it for the gorgeous women, the committed actors and the stylish times but do not get ensnared in the hype surrounding this hustle.
- 6.701 on a scale of 1-10.
Full disclosure: I loved both 'The Fighter' and 'Silver Linings Play', plus the cast are some of my favourite actors working in motion pictures today. So, I went in with a bias and a high level of anticipation for this film. This can sometimes work against you as a viewer as your expectations are too higher and you are disappointed with the results.
I can say that I was not disappointed and absolutely loved the film. People take different experiences and sensibilities with them when they see movies, and mine led me to be engaged and empathetic towards the characters. Their story interested me and I came out of the cinema thoroughly enjoying myself.
My only criticism is that it felt it lacked a little something with story. After seeing the film I did read that a lot of the film was improvised and Christian Bale commented to David O'Russell that this would change the story. His response was that he cared about the characters more than the story (paraphrasing). On reflection this is evident as the characters and acting are first class.
I by no means acclaim this to be a perfect movie or the best movie ever made, but it worked for me. I loved it!
Many viewers claim to be confused and/or bored by the plot. This is a grievous misstep on their part, in my opinion. The brilliance of the plot lies in the thematic mists of the 'gray area.' From the very beginning of the film, deceit, deception, and a wildly fantastic British accent flourish on screen--and that's for the "good guys." The opening scene of obsessive hair care illuminates that point. Throughout the film every character continually re-invents themselves in order to survive. Alliances are never a sure thing, and suspicious eyes view the character's choices from beginning to end. The movie does an unparalleled job of making the audience realize that life, and choices, are not black and white. We live in a world of gray. This is cleverly referenced in Rosalyn's sickly sweet nail polish, the downfall of Carmine, who is a guy with good intentions and is punished accordingly, and the unorthodox work relationship under which Richie operates. This is off-putting to some people, I reason, who do not wish their own demons so blatantly danced across the big screen. Perhaps, it is time they drop their own phony accent, and own up to life.
The acting was out of this world. Every single one of them--Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, and Jennifer Lawrence--deserved their nominations. Bale is subtle and brilliant as Irving, the main conman. He is unappealing and dubious, yet you can't help but like him. His later soft heart towards Jeremy Renner's Carmine is icing on the cake for the dabbling in the gray area. Amy Adams shines, literally at times, as Sydney, Irving's con partner. She is the most volatile and hardest character to read for most of the film. Adams embodies the cocoon that Sydney has created with elegance and fiery deceit. Cooper is entirely convincing as the Richie, the FBI agent whose own ambition proves to be too much. Cooper brings the same electrifying energy he put on display for 'Silver Linings Playbook' (2012), and doesn't miss a beat between howl of laughter of roar of frustration as his plans become convoluted to a maximal degree. Jeremy Renner is also an absolute winner as Carmine, the mayor, despite not receiving an award nod as of yet. Renner is the consummate politician, and you can't help but sympathize with his character (even though you wonder if you should be, 95% of the time). Last, but certainly not least, is Jennifer Lawrence's Rosalyn, Irving's hysterical, deranged wife. The hype around Lawrence's role is well-deserved, she solidified herself among the elite with this role. Each of her scenes brought laughs and anticipation as you awaited what sort of screwball situations her character would stir up next. Standing ovation to all of the cast on this one--you stand far high above the rest.
At the core, this movie is more than just a dazzling spectacle of throwback clothing and crazy hairstyles. It speaks to an era. It speaks to human emotion and ambition. It speaks to the world we live in today. It speaks sometimes with an infectious British accent and sometimes adroitly American. Most importantly, it speaks. Go out and listen to what it has to say.
Christian Bale has not done much for me in recent years, but he was captivating in this, and in every single scene. His physical transformation into a slightly overweight conman with a bad comb-over was enhanced by his believable character portrayal, and I have renewed respect for him now as an actor that can be damn interesting to watch.
Bradley Cooper was brilliant, as was Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Jennifer Lawrence, and Louis C.K.. There wasn't a single person that didn't pull their weight, and it makes the film's more-than-2-hour-length fly by.
There's not much in the way of physical action...in fact, I can't think of anything any action at all really...but the drama of the film is so well handled that action simply isn't necessary. Even the comedic moments were handled superbly.
I'd love to criticise something, cos no film is perfect, but this is a tough one to find fault with...maybe I would have left out Lawrence's dance scene when she mimed to Live and Let Die, cos it felt slightly at odds with the rest of the film in my opinion, but that's being seriously harsh.
So, to sum up, if you want a movie with top acting, big stars, brilliant dialogue, no over-the-top action and a well thought out story (with some historical truth mixed in), then this one is for you.
Trust me, you won't be sorry!
Under the fabulous direction of David O.Russell, American Hustle looks and feels like a 70s con/mob film through and through. Everything from the set pieces, the costumes, and even the soundtrack completely brings you out of the present and thrown into the world being portrayed on screen. The story itself doesn't exactly bring anything new to the table as far as con artist sub genre, but everything else about it sets apart from any other film you'll see this year. We are given a group of characters that each have their own story to tell in the way they are presented to us. Even if a person viewing the film isn't exactly sold by the story, it's the characters that really help move the film along.
Along with the engaging characters, we have an outstanding cast that help bring them to life. Christian Bale does a good job as the lead as the slimy con man who thinks he's on the top of the world. Amy Adams plays his partner and lover and portrays the seductive role with ease. However, our two other leads give the best performances of the film. Bradley Cooper provides a lot of the comic relief in the film as the cop who coaxes the two con artists into the situation. He plays the cocky and at times crazy character who tries to use his charm to get what he wants, and Cooper nails it. Also providing comic relief is Jennifer Lawrence. At 22-years-old she's playing a role that requires her to act so much older than she actually is. As the wife of Bale's character, she plays the snooping and eccentric character so perfectly and just over-the- top enough to really believe it. She once again proves that she is the most talented young actress of her generation.
American Hustle is an excellent addition to the sub genre with excellent direction and a solid cast that help bring the story and setting to life and completely take you into the world you're watching portrayed.
My Rating: 9/10
And even, some scenes made me feel sorry for the cast... because they are good actors, but... well, with a script like this...
I have no doubt, is one of the worse movies I have ever seen.
Seriously, the director should get another job, was not made for movies. He absolutely lacks of talent and trying to copy one of the best directors of all times, Martin Scorsese, is obviously too much for this guy.
Do not waste your time watching this.
We have come to an age where film critics are set up in four star hotels and wined and dined by the Hollywood film industry before red carpet events in order to help them make record profits. The critics and big film producers these days sleep in the same bed so to speak, and that's why you can't trust most modern day critics anymore than you can trust a two bit hustler, because really when you get down to it, they are one and the same. Only money separates what is good and bad for many of the pathetic sheep of society today.
To me Bale was the only thing that really stood out in a good way in this film. He delivers a highly consistent and believable character, in fact I would say he was flat out great. Amy Adams was also pretty good and Renner was again strong in a limited role. Did Cooper and Lawrence even have characters? Their character's were so unbelievable and terribly written that they just basically ruined the film for me. Lawrence pulled off the terrible character fairly well, but I couldn't help but cringe almost every time Cooper tried to play his terribly written part. I always liked Cooper in other films, but here his character is just too unbelievable, it's like he's an inconsistent cartoon man or something. I've heard that much of the film was improve, so perhaps the writing isn't all to blame.
The plot itself is so tired and here almost completely pointless. I would say that their is a two layered plot here and the inner hustler is the only interesting aspect of it, however it isn't nearly enough to save the film. The story lacked depth and the film had virtually no feeling to it at all, the direction is totally jumbled in my view and just went for appearance and flashy scenes. There really is nothing here besides a few good performances and a half-ass inner hustler aspect to the plot that mostly falls flat because of it's lack of depth and consistency.
Don't get hustled by the Hollywood hypsters, watch this film for free, if at all.
Coming into this with only having seen 'Silver Linings Playbook' as some of O Russell's previous work, I didn't really know what to expect. Although that was very good, it is completely different on many levels, so whatever this was, it was going to be fresh.
As not to spoil anything, I won't go through the film scene by scene, but I have to say this film met and (to an extend) exceeded my expectations. There was noting I didn't like about it, because everything and everyone was just so brilliant. First off, the acting was superb. The improv that the actors pull off made it all so much more real, because you felt that they were just letting themselves run with the story and script. When the tensions rise (which frequently happens during this film), you feel for these characters, because for a second they really are Riche Dimasso or Irving Rosenfelt. It also added a lot of the humour, which showed that, although it primarily felt like a drama, it didn't take it's self too seriously, which is so fresh and needed in Hollywood right now.
For me, J Law's acting talent stole the show. I saw her in 'Silver Linings' and the first 'Hunger Games' a while back, so again I didn't have any real preconception of what she would be like. But in this movie, her acting was just on another level. Every scene she was in carried so many emotions, and you'd couldn't tell if she was going to explode at any point (a'la the bathroom scene with Sydney). The things her character gets herself into in this film, even while she's still at home, are just out right slap your knee hilarious, especially the argument scenes.
Direction was a large positive for this. The way the camera moves is so subtle yet so effective. There are a lot of clichés that it could have fallen into, but O' Russell was very clever, and everything about the way he directed it was planned out perfectly. The camera seems to interact with the characters emotions, so you're really seeing this on more than one level.
The story was another element that made it so brilliant for me. Well, that was at the end. I loved the way it ended. It's just as the film plays out, you're so engrossed in the amazing performances, style, characters and humour, it gets hard to keep track of the story. Not on the level of the new 'Doctor Who' episodes, which have plot lines so ridiculously convoluted. You weren't supposed to get it at the start, as your just thrown into this world of eccentric, self absorbed con-men. You get the general idea throughout, with what's happening and what they're aiming to do, but when it got to the end, I didn't get some of the things they were taking about that seemed important ('Did I miss all of that? Was that when that old guy walked in to the cinema with a 20 year old something girlfriend and I lost focus for a bit?'). I heard that O' Russell was more focused on the characters, and lost a lot of story to allow room for Improv, so I guess it's OK if you don't get all of it. I didn't and still thoroughly enjoyed it. There are times during the film when I thought "Wow, that's a brilliant way to end a movie", and then it suddenly carried on and wasn't over, and the story got even more compelling. The way it wrapped up was a feat of true story telling.
I'm not one for movies about money and mafias and cons and all that, but aside from that, it's just as much a tale about relationships and what people are really like. The story of Irving's relationship with his family and Sydney plays out so well, and you feel things for them as their relationship changes, and when Cooper's character enters their unique workforce.
This film really benefited from the actors improvising, as it lead to some very funny moments. Obviously meaning to be funny, like the scene on the the jet and Roselyn's explanations for everything Irving throws at her. I meant that scene where she cleans the house to Live and Let Die is hilariously awkward to watch, with her little son just sitting there and watching his mom give an angry yet powerful rendition of the Wings song.
Bale portrayed Irving brilliantly. When things get tough for him, he excellently shows how a man of his status and ideology breaks down, bit by bit. You start the realize that even though he's so eccentric and rich, he still only human. I think Jeremy Renner deserves credit for that too. Not in the sense that his character goes through the same stuff as Bale's, but in that he was played with so much heart and honesty.
Something that hasn't been seen for a while in Movie-Land, 'American Hustle' is a unique film that gets in the audience up close and personal with every main character they see. The story could have been clearer, but heck, 'Badlands' had little story and that was brilliant too. It makes way for the improvisation, which adds so much and another dynamic to the story and experience.
The critics made such a big deal about Christian Bale's physical transformation but as far as I'm concerned... WHY??? What was the point of him gaining 40 pounds for this role? It did not add one single thing to the plot of this movie. He could have done the exact same performance in his natural state and it would not have made any difference to the movie or his character.
Usually I love Jennifer Lawrence in anything. She is so talented and beautiful, but her character portrayal was way too over the top and cliché as a self absorbed, loud-mouthed New Jersey housewife. You might as well have been watching an episode of The Real Housewives of New Jersey or watching Snooki on Jersey Shore.
Then there is Robert De Niro playing (shocker) a mobster! Talk about type casting, I'm surprised they didn't just include Joe Pesci and Michelle Pfeifer as his sidekicks.
I understand that this movie is up for some Academy Awards. They should not award this movie or any of the actors awards for this. I would not recommend this movie to anyone unless they have about 2 hours and $10 to just throw away. When I saw the teaser for this movie I said to myself, "I can't wait to see that". After seeing it, I said to myself "I want my money back".
I absolutely do not understand the praise of the acting in this film. I never bought into the actors as their roles, though, honestly, there was not much else holding it together for me. Was there a script? Was there a director??? The entire sad excuse for a film seemed to be the improvised work of the actors themselves contrived in a garage somewhere after a long night of drinking.
I never was really motivated to read into the movie, and I was never really fully engaged or entertained by the shallow antics, long-hanging scenes that go on way too long, or 70's retro-obsession. I'm not sure if I'm supposed to be mesmerized by watching makeup applied to Christian Bale's head or how cool walking into a 70's themed wardrobe would be. It seemed none of the actors could keep their accents. I would never label this as a comedy-- I did laugh from time to time because of how badly I wanted it to be over.
For a respectable story about individuals trying to reinvent themselves please see The Great Gatsby, The Departed, or The Town (and I'm sure there are many more).
I have never been so disappointed in a film. With all the hype, I expected another House of Games (1987) or Grifter (1990) or maybe a hard edged drama like The Departed. Instead I saw a very boring film that had no idea what it was. Before I went in, I read that it was a drama. Others said a comedy. Others said a dark comedy. It attempted to be all of the above and succeeded at none. The movie was so boring, after 45 minutes I started to watch the reactions of the viewers around me in the packed theater. It was very telling and far more entertaining than the movie. Over and over, we would be presented a dramatic scene with deep consequences to the plot and to the characters that is then immediately followed by what was supposed to be a funny scene. For example, we have a deep complex scene of someone worried he is going to get killed at anytime. Well done writing and scene. You'll be invested. It's then IMMEDIATELY followed by a housewife cleaning her house while humorously singing and dancing to the song "Live & Let Die." Do you laugh? What just happened? At the very end of the scene when you realize the director is holding up the "laugh" sign, you uneasily chuckle- just a little. In another scene, you have a character do harm to his superior. The superior is beaten badly. Not only is the subordinate not punished, it's played for laughs. Not knowing what reaction I was supposed to have (laugh, cry, be concerned, be worried) actually made my stomach queasy - and I eat habaneros for breakfast! I said several times to the people I was with that this is boring and bad and made no sense. This is not well done. They all agreed. The ending and wrap up will leave you in awe at its lacking.
So much talent and potential wasted.
I am amazed how someone can take an interesting story and butcher it!! What about the acting? Phffff!!! At least in real life 70's some of these guys were actually toked out of their skulls and could thus pass off lame scenes as powerful acting - not anymore chumps - in spite of all the fantastic special effects, makeup and cinematographic techniques that are available today - bad acting is bad acting! period!
Watching this movie is like watching paint dry, and bad paint at that. They should be paying people to watch it not the other way around. Awful.
For the most part the performances were good, each of the lifeless, background-less, soulless, pieces of flesh were played well, despite the poor writing that included them in a script so full of holes that it was hard to find a piece of sensical narrative. And despite being seriously miscast, Jennifer Lawrence once again demonstrated that she can act.
O. Russell exploits all of the female cast, showing frequent side boob, nipple candy and an excessive splashing of Amy Adam's apples. Excessive probably doesn't go far enough.
This film is designed to distract and confuse an audience intent on glorifying an excellent cast, despite a mire of terrible writing, average directing, and non-plussed cinematography.
After nearly two hours of drivel, Robert DeNiro makes an almost pointless appearance as, wait for it... a mobster. In a story that is already going nowhere, this absurd side plot is totally unnecessary. With unbelievable interactions, inane dialogue, inexplicable scams, and dreary narrative I couldn't wait for it to end after only half and hour and by this stage I was shaking my head on a regular basis.
So what is all the fuss about... who knows.
American Hustle is set in the late 1970's - early 1980's, revolving around the Abscam scandal, where FBI agents and con artists would join together to take down politics for illegal cash. The casting and acting is brilliant. You couldn't really picture anybody else playing the characters that have been casted. Each actor gets their own chance to shine in the spotlight, and nobody is left out. Jennifer Lawrence blows everybody away once again - she really is a rising star in the industry with her performance as Rosalyn Rosenfeld. This might be Bradley Cooper's best movie so far as well - he really brings his A-Game for the movie as Richie DiMaso.
The movie has cleavage, drugs, money, quirkiness, great actors, comedy, drama and lesbian kisses which makes for an amazing and unbeatable combination. Five losers who all think they are winners, American Hustle is up there with great movies like Goodfellas, but is definitely an original creation.
Overall Rating: 9.5
The movie begins in medias res, with two con men -- and one con lady -- attempting to buy out a Jersey mayor. There's a lovely opening shot of Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale, almost unrecognisable) carefully and painstakingly combing over his thinning strands of hair. This scene reminded me very much of the opening of Richard Linklater's Bernie, where a plump but serene mortician played by Jack Black joyfully lectures a scarce hall of students on the process of embalming. It's a slow scene, maybe too slow to open up a movie, but we are never bored, because we are given insight to a skill that we've never seen before, or don't know much about. It's the same with this scene. I've never seen anyone cover up bald. It's always bald being uncovered; wigs and toupees accidentally being ripped off, or blown away by strong winds. The scene also informs us that Irving is a certain kind of character.
After jumping to a series of flashbacks, in which the history between Irving and his long-time girlfriend Sydney (Amy Adams, almost unrecognisable without her makeup) is revealed to have blossomed over a shared love of Duke Ellington, the plot begins proper. Irving and Sydney -- now posing as a wealthy British banker named Edith -- have been arrested by Richie (Bradley Cooper, fully recognisable despite his hairdo), an ambitious FBI agent who thinks he has the wit and skill to take down corrupt congressmen and casino gangsters with flimsy, ill-conceived plans. He ropes Irving and Sydney into his little schemes, and soon has them taking on an entire network of illegal tradesmen.
Caught in the middle are two people: Mayor Carmine Polito (Jeremy Renner), and Irving's wife Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence). Carmine is the mayor whom the trio wanted to con at the start of the movie. He becomes integral to the plot when Irving develops a friendship with him. Do I tell him that I've been conning him all along, and that my innocent little scheme might get him arrested in front of his wife and six children? Or do I stay quiet, maintain the friendship, and face my conscience alone? What he does, I will not say.
Rosalyn is an interesting character. Yes, she skirts dangerously close to the Sharon Stones and Lorraine Braccos of the old Scorsese pictures, but Jennifer Lawrence is able to lift her away from them by being more grounded. Stone always seemed to operate on her own terms in Casino. She was a third wheel, functioning outside of the overall story. Here, Rosalyn is fully aware of the situation at hand. She's right smack in the middle of the story. She doesn't love Irving. Irving doesn't love her. But they both love their son, and Rosalyn doesn't want a divorce tarnishing her solid family marital integrity. But she knows that the love festering in the household is only producing toxic fumes. Where her character goes is a place best kept hidden.
And then there's a mix of other secondary characters, including perhaps the best cameo I've seen (not because of the cameo itself, but because of the meaning of the cameo). All of them dip in and out of this intelligent story with impact. Why, even Richie's boss, Stoddard Thorsen (Louis C.K.), is a lovely guy. He provides much of the movie's humour, and there is much of it. Director David O. Russell has said that his goal with American Hustle was to focus on the characters instead of the plot. Indeed, what a good decision. It's a rare moment when not a single character seems out of place. They complement each other, whether they're kissing, punching, clawing, or scratching. And they share so much chemistry that you could select any two of them at random, chuck them into an empty room, and watch them chatter till their throats went dry.
I attended a screening of this movie in Mandurah, which is a lovely place. The cinema had maybe nine other patrons (weird, considering it was opening day). I'd been to Mandurah a few times before, and I watched The Counselor there. That was a poor movie, but the screening was smooth, which is more than I can say for the screening of this film. With about 15 minutes to go, the video jammed and stuttered slowly to a halt. It's the first time I've seen digital video jam. And it couldn't have happened at a worse time. The projectionist eventually rectified the problem, but I had already been sucked out of the moment. That's a pity, because American Hustle was shaping up to be one of the best movies of the year. You know what? Screw it. It still is.
Buoyancy? Like a turd? This was simply a bad parody of the late 1970's era wrapped around a non-compelling script. I am a very big fan of most of the actors, but in this film not one of them connected with me or were in any way appealing. I gave this so called film a rating of 2 out of 10, because the only interesting part involved Deniro's appearance and he wasn't even credited in the film. Wonder why? Perhaps Bobby knew something I should have before overpaying for a ticket to see this joke. I think the only only hustle here was performed on the audience who should sue the so-called professional reviewers.