American Hustle [2013] ★★★

american-hustle-poster-404x600It’s damn hard to dislike any movie directed by David O. Russell (“The Fighter”) and starring Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and Jeremy Renner. O. Russell, who did such a fine job with last year’s “Silver Linings Playbook”, follows it up with the highly entertaining “American Hustle”. It has so many good attributes, including  superior performances and a tangible sense of time, place, and atmosphere that it’s tempting to overlook its shortcomings. That wouldn’t be entirely honest, but at least I can say that the overall experience was good. From the casting of Christian Bale as a con artist who is recruited by FBI agent Bradley Cooper in order to nab politicians taking bribes to the depiction of the 1970’s era, the movie delivers the goods and then some. The story is perfectly set up and the cast couldn’t be better as each one gets a chance to shine, some more consistently than others. Bale is terrific, adding extra 40 pounds and using a ridiculous comb over to play Irv, the excellent con artist. And Cooper is dynamite as Richie the FBI agent. But it’s Jennifer Lawrence who’s a total blast to watch as Irv’s wife (she may be too young for the role but she kills it). How then to sum up “American Hustle”? I would say that it offers an unusual movie-going experience that will likely please many audiences. I enjoyed it a lot. But on reflection, I think there is less here than meets the eye.

Rating: 3/4

2 replies »

  1. Everybody was a blast to watch here, but mainly Cooper and Lawrence, who always brought the film’s energy up whenever they did something. Anything, actually. Good review.

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