News Column

'American Hustle' Review

December 30, 2013
'American Hustle'

The con is on in 'American Hustle'

Pay attention when you watch writer and director David O. Russell's latest film "American Hustle" or you might get conned.

The story becomes so intricate and snowballs into a bevy of shady dealings with dirty politicians, mobsters and the FBI that you don't want to miss a beat.

The cast is a load of eye candy that includes Amy Adams, Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and Jeremy Renner. There is a small appearance by Robert DeNiro, too.

Russell's film is very loosely based on the FBI's Abscam affair, a successfully unsuccessful sting that put seven members of congress behind bars. Turns out the tactics used by the FBI weren't exactly legal and borderlined on entrapment.

The film opens with a black screen and white text that reads, "Some of this actually happened." It was clear from the start that "American Hustle" wasn't going to be precise or fact-based, so the chances of it being history lesson versus pure entertainment were slim.

"America Hustle" is based in the era of disco, platforms and lapel collars the size of a small country.

In the most basic sense, Adams and Bale play a pair of cons, Irving Rosenfeld and Sydney Prosser, that are busted by Cooper's character Richie DiMaso, an FBI agent who is out to make a name for himself.

The trio carries the film as an ensemble while a nice addition is Lawrence's character, Rosalyn as the depressed obsessivecompulsive stay-at-home-mom and Bale's wife is the perfect comedie boost. Her lines are Woody Allen-esque and perfectly timed.

The story zig-zags all over the place and maintains a steady pace, so the two-hour plus runtime doesn't feel so long. As each scene passes the tension builds and the Cooper's character gets greedy. He continuously looks for the bigger bust or as a con man would call it, the bigger score.

As it develops the story becomes an intricate web of lies and deceit.

Bale's character Irving will go down as having the most epic comb-over in the history of comb-overs. Yet, he has Adams' character wrapped around his finger. Sydney is way out of Irving's league you'd think but she must have a thing for potbelly con men.

Russell blends comedy and drama masterfully in "American Hustle" and a film you'll want to watch a few times to catch all the small details.

Original headline: The con is on in 'American Hustle'

Source: (c) 2013 La Prensa San Antonio

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