American hustle tells the fictitious story about a couple who earns their living by stealing from innocent people by telling them clever, little lies. Their smooth operation is being halted when an FBI-agent discovers the truth. In way of debt settlement, the FBI-agent thinks of nothing better than to work together. The beginning of a swirling business-relationship that can go either way …
The movie could’ve easily become a whole lot less fun to watch, had the director not been as experienced as David O. Russell.
Fortunately, the man who gave us one great movie after another (Three Kings, The Fighter and most especially Silver Linings Playbook) knows the crack of the whip and delivers another fine result that, as far as we’re concerned, can sweep every single Oscar-nomination it already received …
(we now know that American hustle won many awards, but not a single Oscar)
For starters, there is the fabulous story, or should I say, the fabulous way the story has been told. Because believe it or not: the story by itself is au fond a boring chunk of cinema. Fortunately this has been shielded as the pieces of the puzzle fit nicely together.
The costumes are exquisite, the 70’s atmosphere is so authentic that you’d think you just stepped into a time machine, the main characters are all multi-layered and thus provide more than enough substance for anyone to identify with … and the humor! Boy oh boy! The humor in this movie is the biggest magnet that pulls you in. Which, if you think about it, is strange. The movie is hardly labeled as a comedy, but there’s enough larks and shenanigans to go around for anyone …
And then of course there is the splendiferous cast! The 4 great names that feature in this film are all relatively young, but what … sheer … talent!
Christian Bale proves once more that he is a chameleon of the purest race!
When the multi-talented actor isn’t a beefed-up vigilante for The Dark Knight or being something out of a nightmare as the freaky-skinny industrial worker in The machinist, he gains another 20 kilos to show off his potbelly up close & personal. The ex-Batman doesn’t need any physical changes to ensure proper acting, but it’s something he feels needs to be done to add to the sincerity and reality of his characters. In this film things are the same. As soon as Christian Bale disappears behind a fat body, fake wig and 70’s glasses, he becomes unrecognizable but oh-so much fun to look at!
Of course no beautiful movie without even prettier girls running around. And pretty girls, well, American hustle has enough of those!
Amy Adams has more talent than most other actresses of her generation and this hard-earned truth is one she gladly advertises. Her still blossoming career is fueled by both child-friendly comedies (Enchanted, The Muppets) as heavy-weight dramas (Doubt) and truth be told: she is one of very few who feels perfect at home in both. In American hustle she stars as the charming partner of Christian Bale (with British accent no less and a cleavage that’ll surely spin some young viewer’s minds).
The other sexy femme fatale is Jennifer Lawrence. She gave her best performance one year earlier in Silver Linings Playbook which was the first movie that allowed her to demonstrate she was a heck of a lot more than just some mindless chicken running around aimlessly in the Hunger games. Her character is certainly not the smartest one, but it’s that delicious mix of naivety and emotional instability that makes her a joy to watch!
Her companion for that same movie Silver Linings Playbook followed her into this movie as well. Bradley Cooper is a man whose career started with a Hangover, but meanwhile he has sobered up and shown us much more of what he’s capable of. He plays the part of the FBI-agent and – as we’ve come to expect from him by now – with such a flair that it would appear he’s done nothing else in his whole life.
did you know?
When Robert De Niro came on set to play his minor role, he didn’t recognize Christian Bale. He pointed at Bale and asked the director: ‘Who’s that?’ Director David O. Russell then had to explain it was Christian Bale in full gear for his character and as a result pretty much unrecognizable …
Give it to me straight:
American hustle does what it has to … and so much more!
It’s a movie haunted by a simple story, but you wouldn’t know it had you written the script yourself. The costumes, the cinematography, the acting performances and most of all the humor are like the legs of an octopus – they all come together in a beautiful ensemble! From the very first minute to the very last, you will enjoy this wonderful motion picture.
And best of all, it seems as if David O. Russell can’t stop making good movies! I for one can’t wait for his next project ..