David O. Russell has a knack for bringing together a great cast that has so much chemistry. He has also been consistent in his last three films in the quality and diversity of genres. We had the exceptional boxing movie, The Fighter, in 2010, the romantic dramedy, Silver Linings Playbook, last year, and now we have the conmen filled American Hustle, which too is quite good.
Russell likes to reuse the same cast members from his previous films. In American Hustle we have Christian Bale and Amy Adams, both from The Fighter, playing Irving Rosenfeld and Sydney/Edith, who are madly in love, but also make time to become a conning duo.
Christian Bale, who normally has to slim down or shape up for his roles, gained quite some weight for this film. He is excellent in his role as the mastermind behind the schemes. He is the type of man who does not care if he is overweight, he is simply confident in whom he is. Yet he is not without his faults; he can flip on a dime and become rather enraged. He is great, again showing off his range as an actor.
Amy Adams on the other hand is a stunner. At almost 40, she is still gorgeous, and Russell really emphasizes this with the great wardrobe she gets to wear and how seductive she appears to everyone in the film. She saunters throughout the movie, sucking everyone in with her beauty and intrigue, but then it’s too late for you to get away because she has you.
And then we have Bradley Cooper, who appeared in Silver Linings Playbook. He plays the FBI agent who entraps Bale and Adams into helping him take down some of the more powerful people in the city, all in order for him to take the credit, and Bale and Adams don’t have a choice but to go along with it. He is really funny, showing off the comedy skills that people grew to know him with, but also showing his dramatic ability, which suits him well.
But then there is Jennifer Lawrence, who too appeared in Silver Linings Playbook and also won for her role, and again she shows what a talented young actress she is. Going from the Hunger Games to Silver Linings Playbook, to this, she has such a broad range in what she can do. In this we see her crazy side. She plays Bales wife, who is afraid of being in public but also always wants to go out. There are a few scenes that really make her stand out. Her beauty is only equaled by her craziness. She is phenomenal in her role and I have to say that she stands a fair chance at winning at the award shows.
On the side we have Jeremy Renner as one of the men that the “gang” is trying to con, and it is really nice seeing him not in an action movie for once. Not to say that he doesn’t excel in action roles, but now he has proven that he can stand his own against already established dramatic actors. I really hope that he begins to take more roles outside of action.
American Hustle though is a movie filled with liars and, in reality, unlikable people. They are all manipulators in their own way, they are all trying to survive in the dog-eat-dog world, and they will do whatever it takes in order to come out on top.
The story does become muddled at one point as the audience is trying to decide who they are rooting for, because everybody is trying to manipulate everyone else, and we forget who is actually more “good.”
Nevertheless, American Hustle is yet another great film by a very consistent director. Do keep an eye on this one as the awards start coming in, because it is certainly going to be snagging a couple.
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