Sunday 15 December 2013

Film Review: American Hustle

American Hustle is the latest film by highly regarded auteur David O. Russell; the director of Silver Linings Playbook, The Fighter and Three Kings. Once again, Russell brings together a wonderful ensemble cast with a wealth of talent for a stylish and entertaining film; American Hustle won't leave you feeling swindled. 

Starring Christian Bale (The Dark Knight, The Prestige), Amy Adams (Man of Steel), Bradley Cooper (The Place Beyond the Pines), Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker) and Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook), American Hustle unites together some of the hottest and most highly-acclaimed young actors and actresses into one film.

The result is a stylish and very flashy period dramedy that is a proud career moment for everyone involved; Russell's direction is very colourful and distinctive, the acting is great and the writing is entertaining. The racks and racks of Golden Globe nominations are thoroughly deserved.

A highlight for me was undoubtedly the music. The soundtrack in American Hustle is very cool indeed, the funky 1970's tunes adding to the atmosphere and the authenticity of the setting. Fans of classic cinema will really enjoy the costume and setting design, as well as the throwback references to 70's stuff. In terms of dialogue, the script is very well-balanced. I went in expecting a film that was fast-paced and littered with hijinks; I came out surprisingly pleased by the slower pace and interesting and captivating dialogue-driven narrative.

Whilst you can lavish praise over the gorgeous cinematography and technical elements, it is difficult to ignore the performances given by the entire ensemble cast. Bale and Adams are front and centre from the off, two con-artists who fall in love and work together on a series of schemes. Bale is almost unrecognisable as the man who was Bruce Wayne, his character coming complete with comb-over, pot belly and a slouch. His acting is also spot-on, more often that not, his entire thought-process or mood being conveyed wordlessly.

The best performance was Adams; as Bale's partner-in-crime, she owns the screen with her big hair and even bigger cleavage - I mean, charisma. Seriously though, she's great in the movie. Her and Bale are a great on-screen double act as they try to outwit and outmanoeuvre Bradley Cooper's police detective character. Or, do they? That's the great thing with American Hustle; like any good noir-ish deception film, you never know where the characters' allegiance truly lie until the very end.

Cooper and Renner are also on-hand with memorable performances as Agent Richie DiMaso and Carmine Polito, the mayor of Camden respectively. Cooper keeps getting better and better with time, as he slowly angles himself away from the goofy Hangover-type roles he is known for.

Jennifer Lawrence is a scene-stealer once again, her witty and slightly daggy housewife character bringing a barrel full of laughs to the film. Lawrence is cast in a supporting role for this one and it was great to see her team up with Russell once again with a insecure and borderline manic character

One of the only criticism's I can level at American Hustle is the overly-long runtime. I did find that at 138 minutes, things did start to drag a little in the middle. Things kick in during the the final third but I found that some of the superfluous bits could have been shaved off to cut down on runtime.

The Verdict: 8.5/10

American Hustle is one of the most visually-striking and entertaining films of the year; like its 1970's counterpart Rush, the film is an entertaining whirlwind into the past that is accompanied by a string of great performances and a glittering script. Another strong contender for multiple awards this season.


  1. Good review, but come on!! Not a 0.5 higher?!?!? Please!?!? Pretty please!??!? ahaha!

    1. Haha, maybe at a stretch it'd be a 9. It's close. Sounds like you're pretty keen on the movie though! Thanks for commenting Dan :)



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