American Hustle

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The cast in a scene from American Hustle. (AP)
The cast in a scene from American Hustle. (AP)
What it's about:

In the alluring world of one of the most stunning scandals to rock the United States, this film tells the story of brilliant con man Irving Rosenfeld, who along with his equally cunning and seductive British partner, Sydney Prosser, is forced to work for wild FBI agent Richie DiMaso. DiMaso pushes them into a world of Jersey power brokers and mafia that’s as dangerous as it is enchanting. Carmine Polito is the passionate, volatile, New Jersey political operator caught between the con artists and the Feds.

Irving’s unpredictable wife, Rosalyn, could be the one to pull the thread that brings this entire world crashing down.

What we thought:

The gold chains. The chest hair. The boob dresses. And the really really bad hair. American Hustle takes you into a period of American history which sported probably some of the worst fashion trends ever, yet somehow pulls you into a world of greedy ambition, unlucky love and surprisingly, a world where you find yourself on the side of the politicians.

This movie has pretty much bulldozed through most of last year’s and this year’s award competitions, as well as an impressive ten nominations at the Oscars, including Best Picture as well as nominations in all four acting categories, an honour accomplished by director David O’ Russell’s 2012 movie Silver Linings Playbook.

What was glaringly obvious about this fictitious adaptation of the infamous ABSCAM was just how top-of-their-game the cast was. Every one of them, especially the young Jennifer Lawrence, is hot property in the movie industry at the moment and the fact that the casting agency managed to get all of them in one movie is astounding.

And you might be sick and tired of hearing it, but Jennifer Lawrence deserve her praise. She pushed and tugged at the line between being dangerously sexy and being dangerously psycho, although there were some remnants of her unhinged character in Silver Linings Playbook, which is unsurprising as both movies had the same director.

Moving on to the other female lead, Amy Adams is definitely an actress that doesn’t get typecast. From her breakthrough Enchanted singing princess to the make-upless nerd in Her, Adams pulls off another great character as the seductive yet emotionally fragile Sydney. She also manages to not make it seem ridiculous that a gorgeous woman like her would be in love with Christian Bale’s character.

The men were also tremendous, with Bradley Cooper also channelling some of his Playbook madness for the neurotic and overly-ambitious FBI agent and Bale changing body shape again to become unattractive con man with a heart of gold. The character is so likeable that you completely understand why he would cheat on his wife and not leave her.

However, the plot was not as perfect as the performances. It was thrilling, but so many characters came and went without actually being told where they went that it can get confusing pretty quickly. At one point you are so unsure of what’s going on, that you yourself feel like you are getting scammed. But that might be the whole point.

I would not say that American Hustle should win over Gravity, Blue Jasmine or Her for best picture – which in my opinion are top of their league just because of their originality and how they redefine movie making – but it is worth a nomination. It is a funny ride into the con-world with some serious questions over what is ‘genuine’ and how we define it. And of course seeing Bradley Cooper in hair curls is a whole reason on its own.

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