Run time: 137mins
Director: David O Russell
Cast: Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Jennifer Lawrence
Synopsis: Set in the alluring world of the con man and one of the most stunning scandals to rock America, this film tells the story of brilliant con man Irving Rosenfeld who, along with his equally cunning and seductive partner Sydney Prosser, is forced to work for a wild FBI agent, Richie DiMaso, who pushes them into a world of New Jersey powerbrokers and mafia that is as dangerous as it is enticing.
This sparkling new film from David O. Russell (The Fighter, Silver Linings Playbook) starts with the disclaimer: “Some of this actually happened.” Russell has assembled a superb ensemble cast playing memorable characters in this complex tale of a con set in the 1970s, reminiscent of the notorious Abscam undercover FBI sting, which resulted in bribery convictions for seven US congressmen and various other government officials in 1981.
Be prepared to laugh at Russell’s razor-sharp script, to marvel at the 70s hairstyles and realistic period recreation by Production Designer Judy Becker, and to dodge the dangers of static electric shocks from the yards of polyester on screen. The terrific soundtrack – everything from Duke Ellington and Thelonious Monk to Tom Jones – also totally immerses the viewer. Tipping its hat to the influential Martin Scorsese, American Hustle also has the most sinister cameo appearance from Robert De Niro since Goodfellas.
Set in New Jersey, American Hustle follows oleaginous, con man Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) as he operates his loan scams and art forgery fraud along with partner and lover Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams), who poses as an English aristocrat for credibility. Their luck runs out when they attempt to con FBI agent Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper), but instead of imprisonment, DiMaso offers them the alternative of pulling off their biggest hustle yet – on New Jersey politico, Mayor Carmine Polito (Jeremy Renner). Rosenfeld has no alternative but to agree, but he also has to deal with his eccentric and unpredictable wife Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence) who constantly threatens to blow his cover.
Like David O. Russell’s previous films, American Hustle lives up to expectations and, with stellar performances, provides terrific New Year entertainment.
Images courtesy of Entertainment Film