American Hustle is the story of two con artists (Christian Bale and Amy Adams) who make a deal with an FBI agent (Bradley Cooper) to make several white collar busts and then chaos ensues.
American Hustle is one of those films that’s kind of stuck between the categorization of comedy and drama. While some films can straddle that line very well, it at times seemed like a handicap with this one; some parts of the film seemed slow-moving, and not in a dramatic suspenseful way. The plot was also a little convoluted, despite the slow pacing of the film. However, one of the best parts of American Hustle was that the film did not take itself too seriously. Starting with the very first scene of Bale dressing and fixing that ridiculous comb-over; many parts of the film were just the right amount of over-the-top to make up for the more lagging parts.
While the plot of the film may have been slow at times, the characters were wonderful. The performances were the best part of the film, and definitely made it worth watching. Bale, as always, completely threw himself into the role, gaining around 40 pounds and making himself almost unrecognizable (not that changing his appearance anything new for Bale, though usually he’s losing weight not putting it on). Cooper was terrific and has really come a long way since his Alias days; his FBI agent followed a great trajectory towards desperation and he played it so well. For so long I associated Amy Adams with her more sweet and innocent characters (Enchanted, Leap Year, etc.) and I love being reminded that there’s much more to her than that. I always love Jennifer Lawrence, but she was particularly fantastic as Bale’s unstable wife and you couldn’t help but love Renner’s somewhat gullible and not-exactly-corrupt-but-will-do-anything-to-help-the-people politician.
I really enjoyed the late 1970s setting. The costumes and music really helped set the scene and tone of the film. I think Cooper and Bale’s hairstylists alone deserve awards for coming up with those looks.
Overall the plot had its flaws, but the film is still enjoyable and the cast was practically perfect.
Rating: 7.5 / 10
Favorite Moment: Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence) putting metal into the “science oven”
- American Hustle