American Hustle is am American dramedy directed by David O’Russell and written by Eric Warren Singing and David O’Russell. It has a wonderful ensemble cast, starring Christian Bale, Jennifer Lawrence, Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, and Bradley Cooper. It was released in the US December 13, 2013. It was nominated for 10 Academy Awards, including Best Picture.
American Hustle opens with a black screen and the words, “Some of this actually happened.” Which is, I think ,a great way to start a movie. It tells the story of Irving Rosenfeld (Bale) and his partner (and muse) Sydney Prosser (Adams) as they are forced to work for the unhinged FBI agent, Richie DeMaso (Cooper). To add to the fun, we have Mayor Carmine Polito (Renner), a great guy who Richie DeMaso has decided to screw over to further his career, and Rosalyn (Lawrence), who is Rosenfeld’s nutso crazy wife. The plot is fun, the opening is fun. I was very prepared to love this movie.
The movie is fast paced and ridiculous, but I was underwhelmed. It was certainly a good movie, but for all it had going for it, I thought it would be better. I will admit, I have never connected to David O’Russell films (I thought the Fighter was okay, but I did quite like Silver Linings Playbook). I appreciate how this story is told, in that sort of awkward quirky everyone-in-this-movie-is-nuts sort of way. It also had several great acting moments. For all the hype around Jennifer Lawrence (don’t get me wrong, I love her and she was really good), the best performance, for me, would have to go to Christian Bale.
The cinematography (by Linus Sandgren) was awkward and, at times, pointless. The screenplay was clever, the acting was great. My favorite thing about this movie was Louis C.K. He had kind of a bit part, appearing throughout the film as Bradley Cooper’s boss. Throughout the movie, he was telling Cooper a story about ice fishing. I was more interested in that story than the actual movie, and i was a bit disappointed that we never got to hear the end of it. But, as it was allegory, I think I can guess.
Overall, I really, really wanted to like this movie. As much as I disliked it, I do have to admit that it was, technically, quite a good movie. And for that reason, my rating is as follows: