Everyone Hustles To Survive; A review of American Hustle (2013)

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Finals are over! Nothing is due! I can reunite with my friends, family, Netflix, and most importantly, the magic of the moving picture!

American Hustle (2013) is arguably the most talked about movie of the year. After director David O’Russell gave us an inspiring tale about the pride of Lowell, Micky Ward, and an oscar winning performance from Christian Bale (He’s Batman!) in The Fighter (2010); and another touching movie with an oscar winning performance from Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook (2012), he has graced us on the screen once more with a movie about con artists.

The film is about a con artist named Irving Rosenfeld (Bale) who, along with his seductive British partner, Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams), is forced to work for a loose cannon  FBI agent, Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper). DiMaso pushes them into a world of Jersey powerbrokers and mafia. Also in the mix are the mayor of Jersey, Carmine Polito (Jeremy Renner), and Rosenfeld’s wife, Rosalyn (Lawrence).

Right off the bat, American Hustle throws you into the mix with a majority of it’s main characters, then they Tarantino it and tell you some of their backstories and how they got to where they are. After that, the movie moves forward and unfolds a series of events that, honestly, if you aren’t paying attention you could miss with a blink.

I’ll just say, EVERYONE did outstanding in this movie in my humble opinion. Christian Bale’s commitment to characters is unlike any actor working today. He can be a skinny and practically dead insomniac, to a bulked up Batman, to this man with a slight overweight and an elaborate combover. Amy Adams’ character in this movie has a lot of dimensions and you honestly don’t know whose side she’s really playing for throughout the movie, and she delivers this remarkably. Also, from a male 20 year old’s point of view, she’s a total smoke show. The woman is gorgeous, that’s all there is to it. Bradley Cooper plays his part great, despite it being kind of similar to his role in Silver Linings Playbook, a man with some temper issues (A man after my own heart). Once again, Jennifer Lawrence delivers a role that everyone is talking about. She will assuredly be getting a nomination this year at the Oscars and I’m probably alright with her winning because she is just perfect in movies and life in general. Jeremy Renner is probably the weak point in this movie, but that doesn’t mean he’s BAD. I’m just saying if I HAD to rank people’s performances, he’d probably be last.

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What really threw me off with American Hustle is that the plot really just seemed a little too crowded. There’s A LOT of stuff going on in this movie and in all honesty, it can get a little hard to follow at times. Whose working for who, whose going to be where and why and how, etc. I would not have minded if the movie was a little bit longer if they used that time to go into the story more rather than make a rush of things in the third act. There seemed to be too many players involved with the chain of events.

Of course, I went into this movie thinking it was going to be jaw-dropping because all of the reviewers from Chicago Sun Times, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, and more were saying, “It’s hands down the best film of the year.” Well…. To me it really wasn’t. I think hype got to this movie for me a little bit, and I went in with higher expectations than I should have (Classic). That’s my gripe with Hollywood these days. Hype sells the movie too much. I saw it with The Dark Knight Rises (2012), Man of Steel (2013), and even The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013), which I saw the other day (That review is coming).

American Hustle is a good idea on paper and the performances were outstanding. The actors are the ones that carried this movie, not the writing. I found this movie to be a bit of an ego trip for Mr. O’Russell, coming off the successes of his past two films. I find myself to sort of deride directors who rush out movies year after year for a profit rather than take their times like directors such as Christopher Nolan, Paul Thomas Anderson, or even Martin Scorsese.

Overall rating: 7/10 – Good

Great performances and hair from the talent, but the plot is a little bloated. One of the most overhyped movies of the 21st century for sure. I will admit, though, the ending is fantastic. Because you definitely need a cool ending for a movie about con artists.

-Reed

IMAGES: http://collider.com/wp-content/uploads/american-hustle-bradley-cooper-christian-bale1.jpg, http://www.impawards.com/2013/posters/american_hustle_ver6_xlg.jpg

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