Movies that are highly praised by the critics can sometimes leave audiences wondering what all of the fuss was about, which makes predicting what films are worth watching a lot like rolling dice. The new film American Hustle has been highly rated across the board, and at this point is nominated for 7 Golden Globes, but the question I had when I went to watch the movie was if this movie with an all-star cast was really worth all of the excitement.
The film starts out with background given by Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale), a con man who seems to be doing just fine when he meets Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams) at a party. Irving and Sydney soon fall for each other, which leads Irving to confess to Sydney what he does for a living. Sydney initially appears disgusted and walks away from a downtrodden and embarrassed Irving, only to return and make it clear that she is ready to play her part in the game.
Things run smoothly for the two for quite some time, as they successfully sell fake art and take in money for “loans” until Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper) walks into their office. DiMaso quickly reveals himself to be an FBI agent, leading to the arrest of Sydney. Put in an uncomfortable situation, Irving is offered a compromise: help DiMaso and his fellow agents bring down several political figures in New Jersey, and Sydney and he will be off the hook.
Despite brilliant planning by Irving, Sydney, and Richie, several huge complications arise. The main issue between the three is the dreaded love triangle that develops, leaving the men involved confused on who is being conned and who Sydney really wants to be with. Another loose end that almost gets the trio in trouble is Irving’s unstable wife Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence), whose blabby mouth and thoughtless actions almost foil the entire plan.
Then there’s Camden, New Jersey mayor Carmine Polito (Jeremy Renner), who the trio grabs hook, line, and sinker on a behind-closed-doors deal to bring gambling casinos into the area. Although the plan was to nail a grubby politician bent on chasing money, Irving soon sees that Carmine’s motivations are not for himself, but are instead for the community, leaving Irving having second thoughts about the scheme. To top it all off, the mafia gets involved in the casino development, leading to a very tense situation with Irving, Richie, and overlord Victor Tellegio (Robert De Niro), providing for some very tense moments on the screen.
Viewers have been raving about American Hustle, and it is very well deserved. This all-star cast was fantastic from top to bottom and provided for some excellent performances from Bale, Adams (who leaves the audience guessing throughout), Lawrence, Renner (who you cannot help but feel sorry for), and Cooper, as well as great scenes involving De Niro along with comedian Louis C.K., who plays Cooper’s straight-laced boss.
This film has a perfect blend of drama and comedy, and even though at times it seems a big long (the run time is 2 hours and 18 minutes), it is certainly worth going to see.
My rating: 8.5/10