American Hustle is a film directed by David O. Russell, with a screenplay co-written by Russell and Eric Warren Singer. The film tells the story of Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) and Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams), a brilliant con man and his seductively intelligent mistress. The two are forced to work for Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper), an FBI agent, as the Feds attempt to bring down a group of corrupt politicians, including Carmine Polito (Jeremy Renner), a local mayor from New Jersey. The piece of the puzzle that threatens the entire operation, however, is Irving’s wildly unpredictable wife Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence).
In American Hustle, David O. Russell has created another blockbuster hit, just one year after his critically acclaimed Silver Linings Playbook received eight Academy Award nominations. As many of you that followed my blog last year know, Silver Linings Playbook was my favorite film from 2012, so naturally, I was expecting big things from American Hustle; needless to say, I was thoroughly impressed. The screenplay was wonderfully written, and it had me laughing throughout the entire film. David O. Russell’s trademark filmmaking style was ever-present in this movie, and he is rapidly becoming one of my favorite writer/directors in the business. If it were not for an amazingly strong year in film, American Hustle would probably be right at the top of my list.
As expected from a David O. Russell film, the ensemble cast was as top-notch as you could have in a single movie, and these dazzling performances truly morphed an incredible story into an amazing film. The casting assemblage was intriguing, as it reunited four actors and actresses that have previously worked with David O. Russell in recent history: Christian Bale and Amy Adams from The Fighter (2010) and Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence from Silver Linings Playbook (2012). Last year, SLP became the first film since 1981’s Reds to receive Oscar nominations in each of the four acting categories; just one year later, Russell’s American Hustle attained the same distinguished recognition.
Christian Bale gained 50 pounds for his role, and this stellar transformation further proves why Bale is one of the most talented artists in the business. The performance was well worth the critical praise that has come Bale’s way, and it is arguably his best work ever. Amy Adams, one of my top five favorite actresses in the film industry, turned in another striking performance as Sydney Prosser. Switching between both an American and British accent throughout the film, the character is a mystifying woman, never fully committing to one way of life, and Adams’s instinctive acting abilities allow this character to shine bright on the silver screen.
In recent memory, Bradley Cooper seems to continue giving outstanding performances, but somehow, he always does so in a year that is packed with Oscar-worthy competition; therefore, he probably will not come close to winning for Best Supporting Actor, but that does not determinative of his performance because it was incredible. The best part of the film, just like in SLP, is the performance by Jennifer Lawrence. It goes without saying, but J-Law is one of the most talented actresses in the business, and her performance in this film is thoroughly gripping and pleasantly hilarious—I anticipate that Lawrence will duke it out until the death (okay, maybe not that far) with Lupita Nyong’o for the Oscar, and it will surely be an epic battle of acting greatness. American Hustle is rated R for pervasive language, some sexual content, and brief violence.
American Hustle trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ST7a1aK_lG0
Academy Award nominations for American Hustle:
Best Picture (Charles Roven, Richard Suckle, Megan Ellison, and Jonathan Gordon, Producers)
Best Actor (Christian Bale)
Best Supporting Actor (Bradley Cooper)
Best Actress (Amy Adams)
Best Supporting Actress (Jennifer Lawrence)
Best Costume Design (Michael Wilkinson)
Best Director (David O. Russell)
Best Film Editing (Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers, and Alan Baumgarten)
Best Production Design (Production Design: Judy Becker; Set Decoration: Heather Loeffler)
Best Original Screenplay (Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell)
Previous movies on the countdown of the Top 15 Films of the Year:
8. The Spectacular Now
10. Captain Phillips
13. Fruitvale Station
14. The Place Beyond the Pines
15. Dallas Buyers Club