Review: American Hustle (2013)

American Hustle is far from living up to the hype surrounding it but is a fascinating homage to the great crime films of the 20th century, filled to the brim with wonderful performances and dramatic 70s perms.

Glitzy and energetic 1970s New York plays home to a scandal that rocked the nation in David O. Russell’s American Hustle. Christian Bale is conman Irving Rosenfeld who alongside Amy Adams’ seductive Sydney Prosser is forced to work for unbridled FBI agent Richie DiMaso, played by Bradley Cooper. DiMaso pushes them into the dangerous yet exciting world of mafia, drawing in passionate New Jersey politician Carmine Polito (Jeremy Renner) along the way. Only adding to the chaos of their world of lies and false pretenses is Irving’s erratic wife Rosalyn, portrayed by Jennifer Lawrence, who, it seems, could be the one to pull the thread that brings their entire world crashing down.

The film, fit with a leading cast of award winners, was poorly executed with a thin plot structured in a way that was difficult to keep up with and overall was an unmemorable film. Director O. Russell has noted that many of the scenes were improvised, and it was possible this that led to the disjointed and inconsistent plot. The characters were very poorly developed but the chemistry between Adams and Bale is a joy to watch, giving the film it’s much needed excitement.

It is clear that this film is intended to be a star studded masterpiece but the stellar performances by all of the lead actors were not enough to make it the masterpiece it had potential to be. With the occasional witty line and an uncredited cameo by one of the most celebrated actors of the last 60 years, it has moments that keep together a film that would otherwise have been an unbearable experience.

American Hustle lacks the structure and plot strength to be labelled incredible but this film is one to watch if you are interested in seeing an outstanding leading cast play out a lacklustre crime story in a somewhat unexpected and chaotic way.

Rating: ★★½

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