Monday, January 6, 2014

Movie Review: American Hustle (2013)

David O' Russell has brought some Oscar worthy movies to the screen such Silver Linings Playbook and The Fighter. American Hustle seems to be meeting the bar that he has set. The movie has an array of interesting characters, some more likable than others. It's a movie that also keeps you wondering what will happen next. Straight from the beginning O'Russell sets you up for a movie that will be quirk, and leave you wondering which parts happened, and which parts are fake.

Summary: Irving Rosenfield is a con man who is great at what he does. He meets Sydney, and they team up to begin conning people. Richie is a cop though who catches up to them, and in order to have the charges dropped against them they are forced to work with him to help him catch a politician, Mayor Carmine Polito, in the act of taking a bribe. Irving though begins to like Carmine, and his wife, Rosalyn,  refuses to stay away from his affairs as he tries to work the work the con. Not only that but she threatens to blow their cover.

Acting: The acting is brought really great from everyone in the movie, and it's one of the reason the movie is as good as it is. Everyone is dedicated to making the chemistry real and bringing them to life in a way that makes them feel like real individuals. Christian Bale gives one of his best performances as Irvin, and even gained weight for the role. He shows his range and ability to create a guy who we begin to care for even though at the beginning he starts off as a jerk. By the end the guy begins to show signs of being a real human being though. Amy Adams is Sydney and sadly I think everyone is letting Jennifer Lawrence steal the spotlight from her. Don't get me wrong, Lawrence actually was my favorite character as Rosalyn, but Adams does a great job with Sydney and making her this character you can never know the motives of. Speaking of Lawrence, she is just really great and funny as Rosalyn. If not for her the movie wouldn't have been near as compelling and funny without her. I'll be honest and say I was waiting for the moments she would come back on screen. Jeremy Renner is the politician, Carmine, and also gives his strongest performance I've seen. He takes a guy I expected to dislike, and makes him into one of the most well intention guys in the movie. There is also Bradley Cooper as Richie, and Cooper isn't the shining moment as he has been, but he's still good, but unlike the other characters he adds no layer to the guy that is easy to like.

Filming: From the get go the goal of this movie is to capture the 70's, the setting the movie is based in. I love how even the companies that put out this movie are done in a fashion that reflects the era. Plus, the music is great, and makes certain scenes highlights of the movie. I loved the scene where Richie and Sydney go dancing in the night club. The lighting and music are perfectly aligned to capture this vibe where it seems like a pivotal change in the movie.

Plot: The movie progresses each character to grow in their own way, and I couldn't help but think of how each character would be affected by the choices they made after the movie went off, and I mean characters like Carmine. If you watch then you'll know what I mean. The story does feel slow at certain points, and you feel like you're waiting for other moments that you want to see come to a blow. The characters are what drive the interest though, more so than the actual plot does. The plot isn't near as interesting as the people themselves.

American Hustle is a well crafted movie. It shoots to capture some crazy characters, and put us right into the 70's. Everything from the hair, the fashion, to the music, and you have something that puts you there. The movie also has these funny moments that get you to laughing more than you expect, especially with scenes that introduce technology that was new to the era. For some reason this movie did feel like a really long sit in the theater though.

Rating 8.5 of 10.

American Hustle (2013) on IMDb

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