It’s not very often that I go into a movie thinking I’m probably not going to like it but then I’m pleasantly blown away. In the case of “American Hustle,” I was definitely blown away. I went into it with a lot of skepticism but all of the players involved are top notch, from the director down to a surprise uncredited performance by everyone’s favorite badass, Robert DeNiro. And what looked to me like a period piece in the movie trailers, is actually a vehicle for some of the absolute best performances of this year!
I don’t want to give away the plot because it IS a lengthy storyline with a lot of twists and turns. But let’s just say that Irving (Christian Bale) & Sydney (Amy Adams) are con artists who get in WAY over their heads when they are busted by a young & feisty FBI agent (Bradley Cooper) who is trying to make a name for himself. While trying to clear their names, both Irving & Sydney agree to help the FBI setup politicians & power players who may, or may not, be involved in a scheme to rebuild Atlantic City with dirty money. In itself, this plot really doesn’t seem like much. However with the powerhouse performances given by Bale, Adams, Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence (as Irving’s wife, Rosalyn), Jeremy Renner & Louis C.K., this movie is alive with fresh blood and gives director David O. Russell some of the best performances of any of his films!
Here’s what I’m seeing…several Oscar nominations (probably all 4 headliners get listed) and an Oscar nomination for best film, best directing, best screenplay and best production design or makeup. As you can imagine, that’s not much of a stretch considering all of the accolades that are being thrown at “Hustle” right now however, after watching the movie and the excellent work done by so many, I’m pretty sure they won’t be left out of the Oscar race this season. I personally think Bale is AWESOME in this role as the scam artist with a heart, Irving Rosenfeld, however I doubt he’ll win. There have been so many amazing male performances in a lead role this year that this one, while excellent, probably won’t get him the kind of push to win him a statue. Amy Adams, on the other hand, should be considered the best in her category. She is outstanding as Rosenfeld’s soul mate and right-hand woman. At any given time, she gives life to any scene that she’s in. She’s sexy as hell in one scene, a complete mess in another, and she plays this character to the hilt! I wouldn’t have ever thought that she could pull this character off but she does it in spades!
Needless to say, this will be considered one of the best films of 2013. It’s every bit a classic Russell movie with lots of emotion, lots of comedy, it’s cleverly edited and the script is perfect. Go see “American Hustle.” It’s worth seeing in the theater and will provoke lots of conversation afterword!
Overall Rating: A