Saturday, December 21, 2013

Movie Review: "American Hustle"

Director David O. Russell's new film, American Hustle, may not be Russell's best film, but he has clearly hit a stride in his career.  American Hustle tells the inspired by a true story of a group of con artists in the late Seventies, coerced by the FBI to help them bring down crooked politicians.  Like most films like these, the plot is labyrinthine, often hard to keep up with, and thusly has a few plot holes for such reasons.

Here's the thing, American Hustle is a well made, well acted film with some of Russell's trademark quirkiness creating laughs here and there, but the characters never become likable.  These characters are all fairly deplorable and I'd be hard pressed to find anyone who'd honestly enjoy spending time with these people.  With that said, Russell is at the top of his game in his shot design, further expanding upon the visual ideas of The Fighter and Silver Linings Playbook with this outing, then there are the performances.  While Amy Adams' constant slipping in-and-out of her faux British accent kind of grinded on me after a while, Christian Bale with his beer gut and combover is phenomenal, and Jeremy Renner shines in each scene he is in as a New Jersey Mayor.

As a fan of filmmaking and good acting, I enjoyed American Hustle, but this is not a film that I will find myself revisiting due to the lack of emotional connection with anyone in this film.  Plus, if you're going to make a film about con artists, as the filmmakers you have to be able to con the audience and deceive us with every twist and turn, and unfortunately this film did not, with most major surprises seen on the horizon at least two or three scenes before revealed.  If you really want to see a con artist film that literally cons the audience, watch The Sting.

I give American Hustle a B-!

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