American Hustle Review

Genre – Based (loosely) off a true story, Dram-edy
Director – David O. Russell (The Fighter, Silver Linings Playbook)
Cast – Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Jeremy Renner. Appearances by Louis C.K. & Robert De Niro
Alluring element – Fat Bruce Wayne having sex with Lois Lane, All 70’s music, clothes and lingo, Jeremy Renner wearing Bruno Mars’ hair
Check it out if you liked – The 70’s, dry humor and plot twists, 
Plot – 9
Acting – 9
Representation of Genre – 9
Cinematography – 8
Effects/Environment – 9
Captivity – 9
Logical consistency – 8
Originality/Creativity –  9
Soundtrack/Music – 10
Overall awesomeness – 8

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When I first saw the trailer for American Hustle, I was immediately sold on Amy Adams’ boobs stage presence. I didn’t care what the story was about, I didn’t care how well it was filmed; all i saw was Jennifer Lawrence in a skin-tight outfit and Amy Adams with enough tasteful side-boob to make Zac Efron bashful. What we got instead, though, is a playful, almost Oceans-esque drama about con artists and the love trapezoid that they are caught in. The film is set in the late 1970’s and centered around Abscam, an FBI operation that was initially set up to catch trafficking stolen goods.

The operation ended up leading the FBI to catching many politicians taking dirty money for a variety of reasons, and really opening up America’s eyes to the corruption amongst civil servants (which I’m sure is long and gone today). As far as the movie goes, that’s pretty much the extent in which it follows real life. The names have been changed and the story of our actual main characters are completely fabricated. Which is not a bad thing. By taking a real event and spinning a ludicrous and entertaining situation out of it, there’s less scrutiny to be placed on the accuracy. It’s more about using imagination to create a situation than telling the story of the past.

The acting in American Hustle is top-notch – a comic book nerd ensemble that we can really be proud of. Consisting of Batman (Bale), Lois Lane (Adams), Mystique (Lawrence), Rocket Raccoon (Cooper) and Hawkeye (Renner), I was thrilled the whole way through. As hard as it for me to see Christian Bale as anything but The Dark Knight, his oddly charismatic, comb-over sporting con man, Irving Rosenfeld, is played very well. So well that Bale gained over forty pounds and gave himself two herniated discs trying to achieve a slouched posture. Oh, and talk about a role being tailor-made for an actor, (probably because it was) Jennifer Lawrence is bat-shit crazy as Bale’s wife, Rosalyn Rosenfeld. It’s the perfect blend of over-the-top Real Housewives of New Jersey-style insane that leaves you wondering if it’s just too obscene to be real. I was left hating her character, but in a good way. Really though, it was Amy Adams’ portrayal of Sydney Prosser, or Lady Edith Greensly, that stole the show. Her emotional struggle to find her identity and the way she can seamlessly shift between pseudonyms fooled even me, at times, and I knew it was a scam.

Aside from the main characters, there are also a couple of guest appearances that deserve mention. Robert De Niro plays a big-time crime boss with his hand in the pot trying to fund a casino in Atlantic City and Louis C.K. plays Bradley Cooper’s superior in the FBI. Another nod to Atlantic City, there are a couple guest spots from HBO’s Boardwalk Empire in Shea Whigham and Jack Huston – who, might I add, looks much better with a full face. None of them have significant screen time, but add some credibility to the film and make it feel like the big-time production it really is.

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In a time when every big movie out needs a gimmick, American Hustle, ironically, has none. It’s a film with romance, action, humor and plot twists – ya know, like the kind that your mom used to watch. Everything in the movie is set to the late 70’s, from the hair to the wardrobe to the colloquialisms to the lens filters and technology. There were multiple times that I forgot I was watching a 2013 movie. And at just over two hours of run-time, there was never a lull in the story. Not everything came with dramatic death-defying scenes or explosions, but it was still thoroughly compelling. The film does a great job of saying things without saying them, which is an aspect lacking sorely in movies recently. Most importantly, American Hustle isn’t afraid to make fun of itself. There is not a moment too serious that the writers couldn’t insert a joke to show how ridiculous the plot – and era – of the movie are.

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When it comes right down to it, American Hustle is a great story about how the system thought they could corner a con man, and how that con man saw right through it all. With a robust ensemble cast and a plot with enough momentum for the entire film, Hustle relies on story-telling and power-house performances to guide it – not high-tech special effects (Notes: This is the highest rated film we’ve done for 2013, and the five under it are all science-fiction). It will make you laugh and the ending is very satisfying. I highly recommend this movie.

Oh, and this happened

written by Sherif Elkhatib

Published by

Sherif Elkhatib

I like Batman.

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