American Hustle is a crime dramedy directed by David O. Russell. It stars Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and Jeremy Renner. Russell has basically been on fire for the past few years with The Fighter back in 2010 and Silver Linings Playbook in 2012. He has come a long way since flipping out on Lilly Tomlin and choking out George Clooney.
American Hustle is one of the most anticipated movies of 2013 and has been hyped up with a star studded cast and a crappy but yet ironic online marketing scheme. The trailer for this film says it’s a 70s crime drama, but every online movie source like IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes says that it’s a crime dramedy. Also, the movie is nominated for best comedy or musical at the Golden Globes. This threw me off and made me wonder if this was really what it was supposed to be, or was it just David O. Russell with a fresh new batch of Oscar bait.
The movie starts with an old school Columbia pictures logo with Duke Ellington’s “Jeep’s Blues” playing. Then it fades in to Christian Bale covering his baldness with a goofy combover. This is where comedy is added to this story loosely based on the FBI ABSCAM operation of the late 1970s and early 1980s. The movie is told with a Scorsese like narration that gives it a vibe of a Goodfellas love letter, and I’m not saying that it’s a bad thing, but it doesn’t come up to par with one of the greatest crime movies of all time.
Throughout the movie, relationships are altered severely, but it all comes together for a great ending. When I first started following this movie, I wasn’t sure who it was going to follow. It turns out that Bale is the hero of the movie, and you get to like him even though he rips people off and cheats on his wife with Edith (Adams). At times it feels that there are simply too many things going on with its elaborate story, and it sometimes feels longer than its 2:18 runtime. The acting is obviously superb, but sometimes it seems that things drag on for a bit before things start to pick up.
The comedy shines in this movie. At first I didn’t really laugh at the joke, but on my second viewing, I laughed a lot. David O. Russell made a great ensemble cast and made possibly his greatest movie yet. He has finally mastered his craft and has it down to science. This movie is great and very entertaining, but it’s not as great as it should’ve been. The Scorsese narration wasn’t used to its full ability, and that’s the only thing I could gripe about. This movie does live up to the hype, and I’ll give it that because movies nowadays almost never deliver. American Hustle comes so close to a perfect movie. That’s why it seems unfair that it’s not perfect.
My rating: 5 out 5