Monday, December 23, 2013

American Hustle (2013): Review

This weekend I went to see a movie that I was looking forward to seeing because it seemed like it was different from the more recent movies that have come out lately (set in the late 1970s) and had actors that I usually enjoy.  I quite enjoyed this film and although it is not that original in general plot, the production value was good, everything came together in a way that worked (casting, actors, cinematography, sets, music), and it was different from the other movies that have come out lately and therefore kept my interest. There were moments that dragged on and I don't think that it needed to be quite so long but overall I had a good impression of this movie and am glad I saw it.  My brother was underwhelmed by it and my father didn't like it at all, but I think it is worth a watch.
American Hustle stars Christian Bale as Irving Rosenfeld, a con man who has been taking money from desperate people, with the promise of trying to get them approved for a bigger loan.  He meets Sydney, played by Amy Adams, and falls in love with her.  He brings her into his conning business as faux Englishwoman Edith and they grow the business.  In an attempt to bust them FBI Agent Richie DiMaso, played by Bradley Cooper, is only able to get Edith.  Irving is then blackmailed to work with Richie to try and get four other bust in order to let Edith off the hook.  In doing so he is forced to try and catch local Mayor and community helper Carmine Polito, played by Jeremy Renner.  As this movie progresses, Irving gets pulled future into a scheme that he doesn't want to be in and has to find a way to get out of, while under the thumb of glory hungry Richie, who now wants to go after congressmen and mobsters to get the big bust.  Also in the movie are Irving's wife Rosalyn, played by Jennifer Lawrence, who's relationship with Irving is tenuous, and Richie's boss at the FBI Stoddard Prosser, played by Louis C.K., who Richie is always at odds with because his boss doesn't think that this whole scheme is a good idea.  Can Irving find a way to con the FBI and find a way to save himself and Sydney?
I enjoyed this movie and thought that it was a refresher for my movie pallet.  It included many of the elements I like in a movie but also had a different approach then the other films that I have watched lately.  I would put it into the category of suspense drama, as it is focused on the characters, acting, and situations between them, as well as the suspense of having the audience wonder if the pieces will all come together for Irving or Richie, and is more subtle in leading the audience through what is happening, instead of the audience knowing everything that is going on before it happens.  I tend to get frustrated with movies that push the suspense attitude in a movie, that the audience knows for sure what is going to happen at the end of the movie, it just irks me,  this movie does not do this and even though it was a longer movie it kept my interest throughout and wanted to see how it would all resolve. 
The casting and acting in this movie was superb and even those scenes that didn't really add to the story and were more focused on just the interactions between the characters I enjoyed and except for a short bit toward the beginning of the movie (where Irving and Sydney meet) and the very ending, I was focused on the story and ready to see what was happening.  These moments that I mention that were a bit slower were the added pieces to give information about the overall movie but had a different feel as they were not really a part of the story's suspense.  Christian Bale was fantastic in this movie and for the majority of it he blended into the character and I didn't see his Christian Bale-isms that I can sometimes find distracting.  Amy Adams had great chemistry with Bale and Cooper and in one of the scenes even Lawrence.  Bradley Cooper did pretty well with keeping up with all the outstanding acting in this movie but at times you could see him trying to act, while the other characters looked more effortless in their portrayals. The cameo of mob boss Victor Tellegio, by Robert DeNiro was added fun to this movie. 
The production value of this movie was fantastic, the overall feel of the movie was spot on, the costuming had me thinking, how does Amy Adams not fall out of some of those outfits, but they look absolutely fantastic. The seventies music was weaved in to add to the overall experience.

I really enjoyed this movie and think it is the award nominations it received, but do not think that it is the best movie of the year and that it is an award winner, but as I said it kept me interested through, was solid acting, and isn't what every other suspense/drama movies are doing.  That being said, my father thought it wasn't worth the money to see it, and my brother was more ambivalent, but then again they are more judgmental of movies and the inconsistencies of movies and consistency of reality within the movie.

My Rating: 3

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