David O’Russell gets the band back together– Cherry picking his team of actors from his canon – for American Hustle; a comedy drama with one tiny toe dipped in the truth. ‘Some of this actually happened’ it cheekily informs us before the beginning credits roll.
Christian Bale is morphed into Irving Rosenfield, an overweight, balding con artist who spends just much time on his comb-over as he does on his hustles. On one arm, he has Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams) a fellow trickster who helps him carry out numerous loan scams, whilst on the other arm is his trophy wife Rosalyn, played like a hyena in a jumpsuit by Jennifer Lawrence, who seemingly aware of his infidelity refuse to divorce him. Which is fine by Irving. After they are busted by the FBI, Agent Richie Di Maso (A pubic haired Bradley Cooper) forces them to help set up a honey trap for corrupt politicians including coiffured Mayor Carmin Polito (Jeremy Renner).
American Hustle is like a heady cocktail of two-thirds Goodfellas to one-third Boogie Nights. It zips along fair old pace as Cooper dances his way into Adams’ pants, whilst Bale develops bromantic feelings for Renner, seeing a kindred spirit in him. Everyone is on fine form. Bale reminding everyone that he can play a damn site more than a millionaire dicking around in a bat suit, and Adams giving a stellar performance as proof that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. Meanwhile, although Cooper and Lawrence share little screentime together, they both surpass their performances in O’Russell’s optimistic outlook on mental illness, Silver Linings Playbook.
Irving et al are fully fleshed characters that have a life off camera and this in part to the terrific script co-written by O’Russell. It positively sizzles with comedic dialogue even when the story is, it’s fair to say, in fear of being crushed by the weight of its own convolution.
American Hustle is a funny and engaging movie that made us want to watch it again as soon as it was finished. A definite must see!