“Everyone hustles to survive”. What do you get when you put together the brilliant direction of David O Russell and a 70’s crime romp based on a FBI ABSCAM operation? You get the critically acclaimed American Hustle. This fact-fiction mashup revolving around the late 1970-80 Abscam scandal, in which FBI agents and con artists joined forces to set up an elaborate sting operation on corrupt politicians, turned out to be an unbeatable combo.
American Hustle is a story about a reckless and psychopathic FBI agent Richie DiMaso(Bradley Cooper), who forces a devious man Irving Rosenfield(Christian Bale) to join him in ensnaring corrupted politicians. Iving Rosenfield is an expert at conning desperate people out of their money with loans, and selling counterfeit paintings with his equally cunning yet alluring partner in crime, Sydney Prosser. DiMaso proceeds to shove the duo into a world of Jersey politicians and the mafia. Carmine Polito, the passionate and loving mayor of New Jersey, gets helplessly caught in between the con-artists. In the end, Irving’s unpredictable wife Rosalyn Rosenfeld(Jennifer Lawrence) could be the one left pulling the strings that cause the entire operation to crash and burn.
Upon release, American Hustle received instant critical accolade with $119,194,898 made as of January 24, 2014. The movie also received rather admirable scores from review aggregated websites. The most prominent of those reviews are, a 93% rating from Rotten Tomatoes, 90/100 from Metacritic (indicating universal acclaim) and a score of 7.8/10 from IMDb. Aside from achieving high ratings, American Hustle has received 10 Academy Award nominations, including "Best Picture" and "Best Director", and became only the second film since 1981 to be nominated in all four of the acting categories. Ironically and remarkably enough, the first film was "Silver Linings Playbook", also directed by David O. Russell and also starring Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence. American Hustle was also awarded three Golden Globe Awards and 10 BAFTA Awards. Time magazine's Richard Corliss aptly states that, "American Hustle is an urban eruption of flat-out fun — the sharpest, most exhilarating comedy in years. Anyone who says otherwise must be conning you.’
One of the main reasons that American Hustle is as good as it is, is the jaw dropping performances of the actors in the movie. Amy Adams (Sydney Prosser) plays an incredibly strong character in an almost all male cast, and was mesmerising in her intellectual ability to seduce and con while using her(surprisingly realistic) british accent. Bradley Cooper(Richie DiMaso) with his new killer perm adds another outstanding performance to his resume. The consistency he displays throughout his movie career is definitely one to be admired. Jeremy Renner(Carmine Polito) or as most know him, "Hawk-eye" from The Avengers, gave one of his best performances since the movie, The Hurt Locker. He takes on the role of a loveable New Jersey mayor who's always putting the priority of his people before himself. Last but certainly not least, there’s Jennifer Lawrence(Rosalyn Rosenfeld) who once again proves then you don’t need to be the most experienced actress, to be one of Hollywoods most praised. With high hair, fake tan and an obsession with her nail polish(which she says smells ‘perfume-y and rotten at the same time’), Rosalyn is a deranged and depressed yet vulnerable housewife. Lawrence simply kills the character at every scene she is in. Regardless of genre, it seems that there's nothing this actress cannot do.
In conclusion, David O Russell has yet again knocked it out of the ball park with American Hustle. With one of the best casts I’ve ever seen on the big screen, the actors and actresses work seamlessly together and exuded chemistry from the second they appeared on screen. You can’t see any indications of one trying to outdo the other and they all seem to respect the vision of David O Russell. American Hustle also excels in other areas, such as it's excellent soundtrack which features classic artists such as the Bee Gees and Elton John. The song choices are perfectly placed and make you feel like you are in the 70’s. The plot is highly unpredictable, as expected of a con film. However, just like any other film, American Hustle is by no means perfect. The movie can be somewhat confusing and hard to grasp for some people. If you are not a fan of the genre, you may very well find yourself on the edge of boredom.