Despite it not being my favourite this awards season, I was taken by 1970s crime comedy American Hustle – and I won’t lose any sleep if it manages to take out Hollywood’s biggest prize.
Off the back of his success for last year’s Silver Linings Playbook, director David O. Russell brought together another A-class cast for Hustle – receiving nominations in all four Oscar acting categories – and created a strong and clever script.
Reinvention is the recurring theme (in case you forget that bit, you’ll be reminded at least half a dozen times throughout the film) as Christian Bale’s Irving Rosenfeld and Amy Adams’ Sydney Prosser forever scramble to make a better life.
Bale reinvented himself for the role, having gained weight and opting for really bad combover-toupee hybrid. He plays balding con artist Rosenfeld who brings Amy Adams’ Prosser in on the game. Together they take money from desperate men and fall in love. Who knew conning people could be so romantic?
But they’re busted by FBI agent Richie DiMasio, played by a hilarious Bradley Cooper, and the pair are forced to con some big names for their freedom. The chemistry between Bale, Adams and Cooper is wonderful, you quickly forget you’re watching Batman, Lois Lane and a Guardian of the Galaxy.
But the real standout is – shock, horror – Hollywood It-girl Jennifer Lawrence as Irving’s wife Rosalyn. A stubborn alcoholic, and biological mother to Irving’s adopted son, Lawrence shines and shows just how talented she is. She takes us behind Rosalyn’s big hair and manicured nails, creating a hate-to-love fighter who uses what she has to survive.
Jeremy Renner has a nice turn as Carmine Palito, a good mayor who makes bad choices, and Louis C.K is a fan favourite as Cooper’s FBI boss Stoddard Thoresen. There’s also a bit role for Robert De Niro as a menacing casino mobster – another horrendous combover.
If you’re up for an entertaining and intelligent film, you need American Hustle in your life. It’s already a classic in my eyes.
Rating: M Offensive language.
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