run time: 138 mins
considered: Crime, Drama
starring: Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Jeremy Renner, Robert De Niro, Michael Pena, Louis C.K.
movie summary: A con man, Irving Rosenfeld, along with his seductive British partner, Sydney Prosser, is forced to work for a wild FBI agent, Richie DiMaso. DiMaso pushes them into a world of Jersey powerbrokers and mafia. (www.imdb.com)
American Hustle is definitely the sexiest movie of 2013 on top of being one of the year’s most creative and unpredictable films.
Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) is your every day working man who owes a few dress cleaning businesses and a window repair store. Behind closed doors, off the books, and in the back of store Irving runs a scamming business. He sells fake artwork and secures down payments from desperate people looking for loans. One day at a party he meets the love of his life Sydney (Amy Adams) despite the fact he’s already married to Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence) and has a son.
To help Irving’s business grow, Sydney pretends to be from London and filthy rich to potential clients. People flock to them for a hand out with their down payment of $5000 which gets them nothing in return. The couple’s wealth is growing until the day they meet Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper) who comes to them for a loan. Their life gets turned upside down when Sydney takes the money and Richie’s fellow FBI agents raid the room to book her for a bunch of criminal offenses.
In exchange for her freedom and the chance for a clean record, Irving and Sydney agree to work with DiMaso to set up some crooked politicians in New Jersey. Their main target is the squeaky clean Mayor of Camden Carmine Polito (Jeremy Renner) who has never taken a bribe or done a shady deal. Polito has set out to help Atlantic City rebuild its casinos and make the city a major tourist attraction again. Enter in Irving, Sydney, and DiMaso, who convince Polito that they work for a Sheik (Michael Pena) from Saudi Arabia who has money to invest in the new project.
Polito turns to his friends in Congress, the US Senate, and the New York/Miami mafia for their input on the project and the potential merger with the Sheik. Tension builds between the three of them about how this bust is going down. Dimaso’s ego begins to get in the way of the dealings because of how big this bust is shaping up to be and the promotion he’s gonna get when everything goes down. He begins to fall in love with Sydney who has left Irving because everything is getting complicated. Rosalyn gets involved by flirting and hooking up with one of the mafia’s highest casino guys which throws a wrench into Irving’s plans.
As their personal lives are following apart, the Sheik has two weeks to deliver $10 million to the mafia kingpin Victor Tellegio (Robert DeNiro) to secure building permits, gambling licenses, and obtain US Citizenship. Irving, Rosalyn, Richie, and Sydney take that time to set themselves up to get away from the potential disaster when it all comes crumbling down and people start to get killed. Once everything starts to fall apart, there are only a few people left standing which means someone is going to have to take the fall that they won’t see coming.
my thoughts: American Hustle features an all-star cast to bring this brilliantly written story to life. This movie is a two-hour long chess game being played by some of the smartest con artists out there. There are really five major characters to this story and each play significant roles to keep us guessing on what’s going to happen next. Christian Bale may appear to dumb with his comb over and few extra pounds but he is the master planner/thinker of the group which means he’s always one step ahead. Amy Adams may be the sexiest 39-year-old I’ve ever seen. She wears her low-cut dresses to catch the eye of the guys, while using her brains to lure them in and take their money. Bradley Cooper is the wanna be hot-shot FBI agent who is thinking with two heads despite actually coming across as pretty dumb. He thinks he’s running the show, gets to pull all the strings, but in the end is just another pawn. Jennifer Lawrence continues to show the world she is one of Hollywood’s leading actresses with her ability to play a wide range of teenage or mature adult roles. She also has the body to win over the guys, but it’s her attitude and knowledge that make her a big player in the game where she factors heavy into the outcome of the movie. Jeremy Renner is the easy-going mayor who believes in playing by the rules and becoming successful the right way. He is someone who we wish existed in the real world, but feel bad for when you realize he’s being taken for a ride down a dark and unforgiving path. There are a few other cameos in this movie, but without this core five this movie could have been dull and boring.
My final comment is that you will not be screwed over by paying full price to see this movie. It was money well spent.
my star rating: 8 out 10