INTRODUCTION. Considering its recent string of success at the Golden Globes, I thought that now would be a good time to watch and review American Hustle. Film trailers bother me for several reasons, the main one being that they have an increasing tendency to give away the entire plot. However – I’ll admit, ’twas the trailer that drew me to this. And who could resist those outfits.
CHARACTERS. Christian Bale has reportedly quoted director David O. Russell’s dislike for plots. “I am all about characters, that’s it.” This is unsurprising, considering the personalities featured in previous films (The Fighter, Silver Linings Playbook). His leanings certainly show in this latest production: characters Irving and Rosalyn Rosenfeld steal the screen and prod at our hearts and funny bones, respectively. That isn’t to say they are the only ones to watch here – the entire cast plays off on another in a wonderfully snappy, intense dynamic. It’s fascinating and fun to watch. Of course, Russell’s love for improvising scenes and downplaying plot does mean there is a price to pay~
STORY. And that price is plot. American Hustle is ultimately a con film; who doesn’t love a good con film? Films all about the underdog pulling one over the big guys, outsmarting the snobs – and outsmarting the audience. This is where the story runs thin. It is unabashedly decadent, brimming with a dazzling 70s atmosphere; there is an abundance of personality, design, chemistry, allure… but much of its substance builds up to a sparse reveal. Just as Bale’s main character cooks up a last minute stratagem to put his problems to rest, so does Russell. We are left with an unexpectedly linear impression, wanting more depth than we were given. A finale that lives up to the look.
CONCLUSION. American Hustle stands strong regardless of scanty plot issues, and it’s worth seeing for the characters alone. A seductive crowd-pleaser.
CHARACTERS: 9.5/10 STORY: 6/10 REWATCH FACTOR: 5/10 OVERALL: 7/10