The fact that American Hustle won the Screen Actor’s Guild award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture really says it all. The acting is great—Amy Adams in particular delivers an incredible performance—but they are all so good. What a dream cast: Christian Bale, like in his turn in The Machinist, was transformative. For The Machinist he lost about a zillion pounds, and for American Hustle he gained a significant amount of belly fat that he wore well. He gave us an intimate view of his comb-over process as the movie opens, and I haven’t been that enthralled with an opening scene since John Travolta showed up with his little ponytail in Pulp Fiction. Jennifer Lawrence is marvelous. Her first role in Winter’s Bone was wonderful, and she hasn’t stopped since.
One more word about Amy Adams. If you somehow missed the little indie Junebug, check it out because it contains strong hints that she would be capable of what she did in American Hustle. The rest of the cast, including Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner (who can do no wrong in my book since The Hurt Locker), Louis C.K., Michael Peña, and all the other marvelous supporting actors make it complete. Michael Peña is fabulous as “Sheik Abdullah”.
Kudos to David O. Russell for bringing out the best in everyone, and for co-writing a way-interesting script that was absurd, yet believable. The opening credits let us know that “Some of these events actually happened” or something to that effect.
The hair, clothing, make-up, everything was perfect. I loved this movie, and it was far better developed than Silver Linings Playbook. It was a trippy extravaganza, vastly entertaining, and you should go to Video Station and rent it immediately.
BTW, the story is simple: Christian Bale’s character, Irving Rosenfeld, hooks up with Amy Adams’ character, Sydney Prosser; Rosenfeld is actually married at the time to Jennifer Lawrence’s Roslyn Rosenfeld; Irving and Sydney find a way to cheat people out of their money via fake loans; they become indentured to FBI agent Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper with a perm); and a hugely enjoyable tale ensues. My personal favorite of all the Oscar Best Picture nominees. – [DVD] [Blu-Ray]
DVD Release Date: 3/18/14