Two con artists are forced to work with the F.B.I. to set up a sting
that will take down a corrupt politician and prominent mobsters.
American Hustle (2013)
Directed by David O. Russell
Written by Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell
Starring Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper,
Jeremy Renner, Jennifer Lawrence, Louis C.K., Jack Huston,
Michael Peña, Shea Whigham, Robert De Niro
Oscar Nominations - Best Picture, Best Actor (Christian Bale),
Best Actress (Amy Adams), Best Supporting Actor (Bradley Cooper), Best Supporting Actress (Jennifer Lawrence),
Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Film Editing,
Best Costume Design, Best Production Design
American Hustle was a big movie in 2013. It was a prominent, sure-thing Oscar contender that landed ten nominations but went home empty-handed. Now, nine years later, does it hold up to the insane level of hype it possessed way back when? I don't think so. American Hustle is loaded with con-artist film clichés, an unnecessarily confusing and (at times) dull plot, and an abrupt ending that doesn't tie off all the loose ends. The best thing this film has going for it is the cast. The performances are absolutely stellar, and definitely one of the main reasons I'd recommend watching the film.
Irving Rosenfeld (Bale, who steals the show) and his new paramour Sydney Prosser (Adams) make a decent living posing as an investment firm that takes a five grand deposit and never delivers on the return. They do so well, in fact, that they attract the attention of the feds. Special Agent Richie DiMaso (Cooper) forces them to set up a con to take down Mayor Carmine Polito (Renner). This thing builds, though, as the Italian mob gets interested in what they believe is a real investment to rebuild Atlantic City. Along the way, Richie falls in love with Sydney, and causes a rift, and everyone is double crossing everyone else. Frankly, it's nothing you haven't seen before.
American Hustle is not a bad movie, but it's not the masterpiece it was touted as back in 2013. There was a three year period where David O. Russell was considered to be a great filmmaker. I'll agree that he's a good filmmaker, but considering he dropped off the map after Joy, I think he's lost his fire, if he ever had one. Maybe the hype overshadowed the work.