Sunday, December 15, 2013

American Hustle

         Screenwriter/director David O. Russell continues his winning streak with his best film yet. Highly anticipated, "American Hustle" will not disappoint. The story is loosely based (love the disclaimer at the beginning) on the Abscam FBI sting of the late seventies. It's smart, funny and incredibly entertaining. Give Mr. Russell credit for a great script and masterful direction of an amazing cast.

          It all starts with Christian Bale, who once again transforms himself physically and disappears completely into his character, Irving Rosenfeld. He is simply remarkable in every film, good or bad, and never has a false note. Here he is joined by Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Jennifer Lawrence, and Jeremy Renner and all of them are terrific. Mr. Cooper improves with each film and continues to develop into a fine actor. Amy Adams shows a darker side from the characters she usually plays but there is still a comic tone to her performance. Jeremy Renner, as the Mayor of Camden New Jersey shines as the only character with a conscience. The biggest surprise is a wonderful Jennifer Lawrence as Mr. Bale's wife, Roselyn. There is a new maturity here with excellent comic timing. She almost steals the film except for the fact everyone is so good.

          In support, there is Louis C.K. as Mr. Cooper's FBI supervisor, Michael Pena as a Mexican Arab (it will make sense), and Jack Huston as a Miami gangster. There is also an unbilled cameo from an actor perfectly cast.

           Mr. Russell reminds me here of Martin Scorsese at his best with rapid fire dialog, great sets, wardrobe, hair and makeup, and a soundtrack of great songs that integrate so well into the story. Enough said...just go see it. It's easily one of the best films of the year. 

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