Thursday, 23 January 2014

Film Review: "American Hustle" (2013).




The trailer asks a question "Did you ever have to find a way to survive and you knew your choices were bad, but you had to survive?” This is asked in American Hustle. This American crime film directed by David O. Russell, from a screenplay written by Eric Warren Singer and Russell, loosely based on the FBI ABSCAM operation of the late 1970s and early '80s. A con artist, Irving Rosenfeld, along with his seductive partner, Sydney Prosser, is forced to work for a wild FBI agent, Richie DiMaso, who pushes them into the world of Jersey to set up an elaborate sting operation on corrupt politicians, including the mayor of Camden, New Jersey.

The film is described as a "fictionalization", rather than a straight adaptation of the events which the film is based upon. The opening screen states, "Some of this actually happened." The film is loosely based on the 'Abscam' Operation. 'Abscam' was a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) sting operation run from the Bureau's Hauppauge, Long Island, office in the late 1970s and early '80s. The operation initially targeted trafficking in stolen property but was converted to a public corruption investigation. The FBI, aided by a convicted con-man, videotaped politicians as they were offered bribes by a fictional middle-Eastern sheik in return for various political favors. The investigation ultimately led to the conviction of a United States Senator, six members of the United States House of Representatives, one member of the New Jersey State Senate, members of the Philadelphia City Council, the Mayor of Camden, New Jersey, and an inspector for the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service. The film's main characters; Irving Rosenfeld, FBI Agent Richard "Richie" DiMaso, Sydney Prosser, Mayor Carmine Polito and Rosalyn Rosenfeld were based upon the real-life figures; Melvin Weinberg, Anthony Amoroso, Jr., Evelyn Knight, Angelo Errichetti and Cynthia Marie Weinberg.

It stars Christian Bale and Amy Adams as two con artists. Who are then forced by an FBI agent, played by Bradley Cooper, to set up an elaborate sting operation on corrupt politicians. Including the mayor of Camden, New Jersey, played by Jeremy Renner. Jennifer Lawrence plays the unpredictable wife of Bale's character. Bale and Adams gave intense and emotional performances, especially Adams which explains why she so deserved to win a Golden Globe and an Academy Award nomination. Cooper gave his most raw and comical performance since Silver Linings Playbook (2012). Renner gave a great performance in his first non-commercial film. Lawrence also gave an equally intense and comical performance as Adams and Cooper. Which is also why she too deserved a Golden Globe and an Academy Award nomination.

Hard-hitting and stylish, American Hustle is the crime film of the year – and arguably one of the high points of David O. Russell's career. The film is so absorbing that whenever it cuts away from the plot, there is another, better plot to cut to. However, there moments where I found it irratating rather than interesting. But it's sly, with a biting sense of humor and emotionally satisfying elements. I suppose the film is worth every cent.

Simon says American Hustle receives:


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