American Hustle opens with a very out of shape Christian Bale getting out of bed. He arrives at his mirror, his gut protruding, as he prepares his elaborate combover for the day. The audience cackles as he goes through this daily routine. It’s hilarious and sets the tone for one of my favourite films of the year.
Bale plays Irving Rosenfeld, a brilliant con man. He becomes involved with Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams) and she very quickly becomes his cunning and seductive accomplice. After catching the attention of manic FBI agent Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper) they are thrust into a dangerous world of the powerbrokers and mafia of New Jersey. Eventually they set their sites on the beloved Mayor Carmine Polito (Jeremy Renner). The plan is in motion but Rosenfeld’s gorgeous, reckless and unpredictable wife could bring the whole thing to the ground.
Director David O Russell has really solidified himself as one of my favourite directors following last year’s Silver Linings Playbook. The entire film looks, flows and feels great in every sense. It bares all his hallmarks of downright weird characters, a plot you can’t predict and terrific long, dialogue heavy scenes.
With a criminal plot and a cast as strong as this one Hustle very quickly bares comparison to Ridley Scott’s The Counsellor. Thankfully this movie is ten times better. Hustle’s all star cast doesn’t rest on their laurels and puts in great performances across the board. The movie flows well and the plot actually makes sense. Counsellor was soulless and clerical while Hustle is brimming with fun and has some real heart and soul. It’s a relentlessly fun and hilarious and zany movie. You’ll be cackling your way through the whole thing.
The whole cast really is fantastic but of course Jennifer Lawrence steals the show. Her turn as Rosenfold’s wife is widly entertaining and downright hilarious. I’m still quoting some of her lines a few days later with a sly grin. I also really enjoyed Bradley Cooper as the crazy FBI agent who gets a little too invested in his case and the people involved. Also look for a great supporting cast with Louis CK, Robert De Niro and some of my favourites from Boardwalk Empire showing up for the fun.
The hair and fashion of the 70’s brings plenty of laughs on their own. Bale’s combover, Lawrence’s crazy updo, Cooper’s curls and whatever the hell was on top of Renner’s head will have you constantly giggling. Honourable mention to the ridiculous amount of cleavage Amy Adams shows at all times also.
All in all this is a riotously entertaining and fun film. Easily on my best of the year list and should do quite well in Oscar season.