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American Hustle

September 30, 2014

American Hustle (2013)
Director: David O. Russell
Actors: Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper

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Synopsis: Grifters, Irv Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) and Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams), get apprehended by FBI man Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper). DiMaso offers them immunity from prosecution, if they’ll help him ensnare ‘bigger fish’ i.e. politicians and mobsters, in a large, convoluted scam involving a ‘fake Sheikh’….

Review: American Hustle is an enjoyable, if rather straightforward, piece of sub-Scorsese/Seventies-nostalgia fluff. Perhaps in its colourfulness and zaniness (as betrayed by the gorging on all the period regalia – haircuts, costumes, décor, soundtrack), director David O. Russell thought he had an appropriate visual correlative to the themes and machinations of the on-screen caper, though I think Russell might have been better served being more sly and playing against the material somewhat – to draw out its darker, more discursive commentary on the ‘American Dream’ circa-the late Seventies. Still, it’s entertainingly portrayed, and if nothing else is exemplar of a certain type of Hollywood screwball proficiency (something Russell is becoming increasingly adept at mining as per his recent ‘rom-com’ par excellence, Silver Linings Playbook). (September 2014)

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