Skip to comments.Movie Review: "American Hustle"
Posted on 12/26/2013 4:22:41 PM PST by LS
Every once in a while Hollywood produces a film that is not only well acted but extremely well written. "American Hustle," loosely based on the Abscam sting operation of the 1970s, will certainly be in the running for best picture.
Christian Bale plays Irving Rosenfeld, again based loosely on con man Melvin Weinberg, who pretends to be a front for a "sheik" (played by Michael Pena---a Hispanic playing an Arab itself is a source of some good lines) to entrap congressmen and other public officials including "Mayor Polito," a friend of Rosenfeld's again based somewhat on Camden mayor Angelo Erricheti.
The cast not only is extremely strong, featuring the morphling Bale (who goes from muscular Batman to the crackhead brother in "The Fighter" to the paunchy, balding Rosenfeld), but versatile Amy Adams (who gets better in every picture), hunk Brad Cooper (sufficiently de-hunkized with a curley-cue hair job) and the talented (and yes, hot) Jennifer Lawrence. At one point or another in the movie, each of the four is paired one-on-one with the other and they handle the scenes masterfully. Mayor Polito is played by ("Hawkeye" in the Avengers) Jeremy Renner in another solid performance. But Bale carries the show, with Lawrence a strong second.
This is a scam movie---who'se zommin' who---in the tradition of "The Sting," although the climax isn't as dramatic. But, more than "The Sting," "American Hustle" looks at the erosion of dignity and humanity brought about by the simplest of lies. Ultimately, it shows us that regardless of how adept one is at lying, it exacts a cost on the soul.
There is unrelenting foul language (apparently a trademark of screenwriters these days) but no obvious sex and surprisingly little violence. After watching (to my regret) "The Fast and the Furious Six" the other night, in which the car chases and explosions were unrelenting, it was good to watch quality screenwriting in action. In the end, the moral is you can't con a con man.
Are there any car chases and explosions in this movie? If not then I’m not watching it.
Thank you, great critique, sounds like it’s worth a look..
I'm really impressed with Jennifer Lawrence; she seems to get better in each subsequent movie. And Christian Bale has been a favorite of mine since he made his debut in "Empire of the Sun".
Why would you go see F&F6 unless you wanted to see car chases and explosions? I would think by F&F5 you would have figured out what you were getting.
American Hustle was a GOOD movie! Good acting and great screen writing. Not a big Bale fan, but he was effective in this role. I thought Jennifer Lawrence’s performance was awesome
I heard that the corrupt mayor is presented as almost a good guy.
Very average movie.
And anticlimactic ending for a LONG movie.
I LOVED IT. 5 stars. Hot. Sexy. Funny. Cool. 70’s baby.
Yes. Remember, he’s more of a composite(like Obama’s girlfriends) but he is sympathetic.
If Brad Cooper explodes, does that count?
Yes, I thought it might just be me cause Jennifer Lawrence is so darn hawt but she is a great young actress.
The trend in Hollywood now is for the 2-hour movie because they are so expensive.
A good flick. I thought Amy Adams carried the movie. But all four were exceptional. I recommend it and no, no explosions that I recall.
Last movie I saw in a theater was “Gravity”. I thoroughly enjoyed the part where Sandra Bullock’s character came out of her spacesuit...don’t remember much after that...
doesn’t sound like something I would watch
Obviously, I’m old, because I love movies that can pull off the ‘70s fashion. I giggle at what I wore as a child but I enjoy seeing it represented in movies. Casino was much more enjoyable for because of it. I’m glad you liked American Hustle because I am interested in seeing it.
LOL. Yes, very good scene, and better than Sigourney Weaver in “Alien.”
I thought overall the movie was okay. The last half of the movie was stronger. I think Bale and Adams will win the Oscar for this. I am not sure if the movie will. I thought at times Adams looked better that Lawrence. The music was great. I thought the ending was specious.
If you were around during the 70s, even as kid as I was, you will appreciate it, but other than that it was a nostalgic time piece trying to recreate the Oscar magic of Argo with a bit of Silver Lining Playbook.
I really did not think Argo deserved best picture. We must be in real trouble in this country if we have this favorable view of the 70s.
" We must be in real trouble in this country if we have this favorable view of the 70s."
Before my time, but yeah. I guess anything looks better than the age of Obama. Will there be 2010's nostalgia movies 40 years from now?
I was a teen in the 70s. Muscle cars were cheap - my first muscle car was a 1969 Chevelle SS convertible for 350.00. Bought it in 1977. Gas - other than the artificially-created “oil shortage” in 74(time frame??) - was still cheap; I think I remember 58 cents a gallon at one point.
Drugs weren’t rampant yet in the white neighborhoods.
It wasn’t a bad time - other than disco and polyester leisure suits. The ONLY good thing about disco was the slutty disco chicks...
Overall, on a scale of 1-10, the 70s were about a 7.
Previews made it look like a ‘Boogie Nights’ rip off. And of course ‘Boogie Nights’ was something of a Goodfellas rip off...
I had a normal childhood. My dad was unhappy because he did well financially early in the 70s but we struggled during the Carter years. Both my dad and mom officially became republicans because of Reagan.
Disco music was not really that bad, I bet there are secret disco fans among us. Donna Summer was great.
Jenny L. looked pretty good in the trailers. I was 5 1/2 when the ‘70s ended. Technically, the ABSCAM stuff was in the early ‘80s. Unfortunately, what could’ve been a premier opportunity to take out Sen. Pete Williams in NJ turned into another fiasco (as Lautencorpse took his place).
Personally, the era (late ‘70s) was a better time for me, for reasons some of you already know (even though as a kid, I was obviously insulated from the worst of it). I guess I have a warm, fuzzy feeling for it, the disco era, even though I wasn’t really old enough to partake of it (though I well remember the teens and adults did and my wanting to be older so I could, too... though by the time I was old enough, it was all gone). In other ways, though, it was an awful time for the country, as we had been in freefall for a decade (since about 1965), and leadership was almost as bad as now.
I can’t quite imagine a nostalgia for the current period (except perhaps in 3-4 decades things may well be far worse, so looking at it as better only in that regard) because now we have such a divided culture, and an undefined sense of fashion (which has been the case for over a decade now, which is highly unusual as almost every decade has had it).
Until the ‘90s, we still had a somewhat basic unity of culture and shared experiences to a degree (even if there were subcultures within), but that has come apart so dramatically in my lifetime. Cultural touchstones, values, etc. have been changed, and not for the better. Degradation is de rigeur.
I mean, what will we have warm and fuzzy feelings for ? The dangerous boy emperor fascist ? Neverending wars ? Miley Cyrus on a wrecking ball ? Kandy-Ass West ? Even sports isn’t what it was anymore. Pampered multimillionaires who bring their thug hip hop culture with them ? Shock and outrage by the purveyors of degradation and filth over a bearded man who expresses what was, for most of my life, a mainstream Christian viewpoint ?
A sick, degraded and shameful era with no sense of class or style, let alone direction (except down).
I don’t see Boogie Nights as being a ripoff of Goodfellas. It certainly wasn’t a gangster movie (although we’ve seen other movies with a story arc of rise to power, fall from grace and then redemption). The only problem is that Boogie had a happy ending, whereas some of us know full well the real-life people did not (Dirk Diggler would’ve been reduced to doing gay pornos before succumbing to AIDS before the ‘80s was out).
I didn’t mean in terms of subject matter but style and theme. It’s about a naif and his rise and fall within an outwardly alluring subculture and its extended cast of characters. The use of music and the swirling camera are clearly derived from Scorsese’s film.
Boogie Nights is way weirder than a Goodfellas ripoff. Good movie too. American Hustle is excellent, it is a Scorsese imitation, but it’s a form he’d abandoned for a while (before of course returning for Wolf released a week later). It’s more fun than Scorsese though, the characters are actually likable misfits more than conniving scumbags.
It’s hard to believe I remember what it was like BEFORE (C)rap music. Disco was everpresent in my early childhood and then sorta faded, with the remnants of the great Motown era still hanging around.
When rap first came on the scene, it was initially harmless and funny, but before the ‘80s were out, it had descended from guys doing neat moves and spinning on their back and making weird sound effects with their mouths to an ugly, drug-fueled, misogynistic and ultraviolent cult, inextricably linked to the Black criminal underclass (which sadly, each feeding off the other — meaning it dragged down Black culture, and then the culture dragged down the music even more, so on and so forth).
It is the national anthem of the feral class. I, for one, wish it had never come into being. We’d all have been better off for it.
I love BN. But it is highly imitative of Goodfellas in various ways. Scorsese imitated his models too.
I secretly liked disco, but as a long-haired, maggot-infested rock and roller of course had to disparage it.
I'm a fan of both.
Gadzooks, I am old, too-- And do I... recall the 70s?
Of course, I... do!
The long hair... and the crazy clothes--
Even had a big hair Jennifer Lawrence clone... before there were clones.
Yet I must confess, I was more crazy about my Amy Adams... of that period.
Just to make sure, we are speaking of the 1970s, but if not, I loved the 1870's... too!
Love that ‘70’s hair! (both centuries!)
You have an amazing likeness to Sonny Bono but you look to be 6 feet tall.
I hated disco at the time, but appreciate it now, especially since the advent of rap, which seems to be the musical equivalent of locusts.
Early seventies Motown had strong moral lessons, which are especially poignant today, in comparison.
Saw it yesterday somewhat reluctantly. We felt like going to a movie and there isn’t much out there. About 20 minutes into it I thought - cr@p how am I going to sit through this. But it just kept getting better and better. Bale was unbelievable, he will get a nomination for sure. And Jennifer Lawrence was awesome as well. Good casting all around.
I agree I almost got up and left, but it got better.
Gadzooks? Sonny... Bono?
Over the years, I've been told I look... like lots of folks--
Robby... the Robot--
Humphrey... Bogart in Casablanca--
Marlon... Brando in The Godfather--
Otter... in Animal House--
Bond... Jame Bond--
and Steven... Spielberg--
But never, ever Sonny... Bono.
Empire of the Sun is a gem, and Bale held his own with John Malkovich, which is quite a feat.
Rescue Dawn is another great movie with Bale that didn’t receive much notice.
You don't see it? Must be just me...
Yeah, there was a serious fashion faux pas overall going on back then... bell bottoms and platform shoes on duded (No, I NEVER wore those)... polyester leisure suits and chest hair sticking out with bling...
But then again... looking at some of the morons walking around now with their baggy pants hanging down off their asses, too stupid to realize that that advertises that they were someone’s jailhouse b*tch... well, in lieu of that, the 70s fashions weren’t all that bad, were they...
Nice hat, bro! And the lady in red is a beaut!
“...Disco music was not really that bad, I bet there are secret disco fans among us. Donna Summer was great....”
You’re talking to a guy here who played guitar in Hendrix, Zeppelin, and Deep Purple tribute bands... I just couldn’t stand the repetitiveness of the disco stuff.
That being said... the disco broads looked like tramps, and that wasn’t a bad thing (wink)...
Here I am ... ... Cheers, Otter
Look, hat, back in the 60s, I had a torrid affair with Bendy just because... he was the total opposite of Sonny. That sorry son-of-a-bitch husband of mine turned out to be a Republican!
Now, that shows what a hell of an actor... I am!
Yes, Faith was... the one that got away--
Come on, Bend, spill it! How did... she get away?
She stole... my damn car!
Gadzooks! Is that... really you, Otter?
Yeah, Bend. All that booze didn't make me age well... did it?
Well, eating raw trout... keeps me looking forever young!
Are those three little trout keepers? ... ... They look kinda puny. You must be the old fat guy with the shit-eatin' grin holding 'em.
Incidentally, that movie "American Hustle" is really enjoyable. I saw it yesterday.
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