Thursday, December 19, 2013
The built in buzz for American Hustle is of course the fact that writer/director David O. Russell, still basking in the commercial and award winning success of both The Fighter and Silver Linings Playbook is once again working with 4 actors from those movies - Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper. Which makes me wonder, did this brainwash me prior to my screening or did I really love the movie?
American Hustle is very loosely based on the Abscam FBI sting operation of the 1970s that ensnared seven members of Congress for taking bribes. During this time, the FBI really did hire a convicted con artist to help plan and conduct the operation. In Russell's movie it's two con artists - lovers Irving Rosenfeld (Bale) and Sydney Prosser (Adams) who fall for each other over a shared love of Duke Ellington and find even more in common as people who believe in reinvention and making others believe in that reinvention with every minute detail, or as Rosenfeld likes to say "From the feet up".
Christian Bale is impressive, this actor will go to great lengths to morph into a character. I would say on par with the likes of Meryl Streep. As Irving Rosenfeld, he uses the extra girth in his face and neck to really become this street-wise business man/con-man from the Bronx, who can't bring himself to leave an unstable wife for many reasons, not the least of which being her young son, whom he's adopted. For a man not on the level, loyalty is a big part of the fabric of this character.
Jennifer Lawrence plays Irv's young wife, Rosalyn Rosenfeld. Lawrence has been very good in everything I've ever seen her in, starting with The Bill Engvall show in 2007. I've seen both installments of The Hunger Games and for all its stylization, political undertones killing and adventure, the real meat of that movie franchise is Lawrence. Although, I did just write in my Oldboy review (click for T&Tpost) that Elizabeth Olsen could be her competition. In American Hustle already brimming over with comedic overtones, she's the real comic relief. Rosalyn never takes the blame for any of her missteps and failures, always finding a way to turn things to her advantage.
Bradley Cooper, I always feel like I know him, well, I did get to meet him on The Words red carpet (click for T&T post) but the sense of familiarity is because he grew up in the Abington area and so did I. I've notice Bradley Cooper tends to be cast in high strung roles, like the desperate plagiarist in The Words; drug induced genius in Limitless (click for T&T post); Overly ambitious cop in The Place Beyond the Pines (click for T&T post) Bipolar Pat in Silver Linings Playbook (click for T&T post, which includes some fun pics of David O. Russell at Philadelphia red carpet) and even Face in The A-Team. I don't think it's about his energy, but rather his eyes, they make him look really high and exuberant all the time. In American Hustle Cooper once again plays an overly ambitious, rogue FBI agent, Richie DiMaso, who thinks he's got Irv and Sydney under his thumb, but soon finds out he's out of his depth.
What you won't be able to miss while watching American Hustle is all the fabulous 70's hairdos! From big coifs to elaborate comb overs, pompadours and Breck Girl bounce, the hair stylists and make-up artists deserve to take a bow.
And same with the Music Supervisor. Really great 1970's Hits & Disco tracks: "Live and Let Die", "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart", "White Rabbit", "I Feel Love", "Don't Leave Me This Way", "Delilah" and more...
American Hustle is over 2hrs long and I don't think it's quite as tight as The Fighter or Silver Linings Playbook, but I came out feeling really good about the movie so, I'm giving it a...
T&T Lamb score: 4 out of 5
Around the Web
|LA Times Envelope Screening Presentation of American Hustle|
Philly Film, Food & Events Blog