Review: American Hustle

American Hustle (Dir.: David O. Russell; Cast: Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence et al.)

American Hustle is the top dog at the Oscars this year with 10 nominations, including the big ones for Best Motion Picture, Best Director and Best Performance in Leading and Supporting Roles for both actors and actresses.

It is this stunning advertisement that served as insurance as I went to catch the film on the big screen this Sunday (January 19). And it has to be said that American Hustle is very good entertainment. A tale of greed, con jobs and ambition – it has the perfect ingredients for weaving into a tight narrative. And this is what David O. Russell does so coolly.

The comedy is the best part of this film, with situations, mannerisms and characterizations all leading to moments of fun and laughter.

The comedy is the best part of this film, with situations, mannerisms and characterizations all leading to moments of fun and laughter

The casting by Lindsay Graham and Mary Vernieu deserves high marks. The film is littered with stars, but each in the right place. Christian Bale, in the most important role as Irving Rosenfield, is fabulous. His dedication to the art is visible in the opening sequence itself. The Batman sports a paunch in American Hustle, and not a small one too. But preparing physically is one thing, and getting into the skin of the character is another. Bale is just superb as a con-man caught in a difficult situation, both at home and at work. He portrays his condition with aplomb, drawing both sympathy and laugh at his comically pitiable state of affairs. Amy Adams as Sydney Prosser, Rosenfield’s suave partner, delivers another flawless performance. But a special mention must be made of her co-star, the young and talented Ms. Lawrence. At 24, she already has a burgeoning list of performances under her belt. Katniss Everdeen and all that is all very good, but this one is a top-notch performance from her. While she makes it look quite easy, getting right the neurotic wife of a high-flyer, cheating criminal husband here is just a proof of her wonderful skills and abilities. The scene where she confronts her rival, the beyond-her-league Sydney Prosser, is already being written about and even compared to the Michael-and-Fredo scene of The Godfather II – and for some reason. Even in the face of the pace of the film (mostly driven by the need, I feel, to keep up the comedic action), Bale and Lawrence, especially, provide moments of fine acting.

In a film of this genre, the plot is a make-or-break factor, and the plot of American Hustle certainly has enough meat to keep the viewers’ interest alive for its long running time of 138 minutes.

In conclusion: not one for the ages maybe, but good entertainment nonetheless !

American Hustle IMDb Link

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