Gavin Miller reviews American Hustle (15)
Christian Bale and Jennifer Lawrence put in terrific performances to help paint another David O Russell – albeit slightly flawed – masterpiece.
They provide just two great turns among a perfectly conceived cast, which also includes Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper and Jeremy Renner in top form – with a great cameo from Robert De Niro thrown in for good measure.
It won’t be everyone’s cup-of-tea – just like with director Russell’s last effort The Silver Linings Playbook – but this character-driven piece about the hustling financial excesses of the late Seventies is a vibrant and energetic film that deserves attention.
It’s loosely based on a New Jersey political scandal, which tells the story of brilliant con man Irving Rosenfeld (Bale), who along with his seductive British partner Sydney Prosser (Adams), is forced to work for eclectic FBI agent Richie DiMaso (Cooper) after finally getting caught.
Jeremy Renner’s (The Bourne Legacy) Mayor Carmine Polito is the man caught-in-the-middle of this game between the con-artists and the Feds – which threatens to get out of control when the trio get closer to the Mafia.
But the one person who threatens to derail the whole plan is Irving’s neurotic wife Rosalyn (Lawrence) who turns out to be more of a hindrance than a help, when wining and dining New Jersey’s elite.
The story itself may not provide the pay-off required for some – and does almost get dizzied by it’s own trickery – but this is one of the finest performances from an ensemble cast in quite some time.
If you’re a true movie fan you’ve got to see it for performances alone, and if Lawrence (Bale should be in with a strong shout for Best Actor too) doesn’t get a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for this then she’s the one that’s been hustled.