It's that time of year again. The time of year when I get a huge itch to really dive into movies. Needless to say, I watch more movies than most. With The Oscars just around the corner, I've decided to once again review of all the movies nominated for Best Picture. These will be reviewed alongside some of the bigger movies of 2013 nominated for an award. Starting off this week, I will be reviewing one of the most talked about and nominated films "American Hustle." With an all-star cast consisting of Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, David O. Russell made his bid for the Oscar Season. Even though the overall product could widely be considered safe and over-hyped.
"American Hustle" follows the story of Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) and Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams) as they meet, begin a relationship and subsequently begin to con people using a loan scam. Irving is reluctant to leave his wife, Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence), with her son, who he's adopted. FBI Agent Richard DiMaso (Bradley Cooper) catches the couple red-handed, but offers to release them if they help him catch some additional criminals. The main guy they would be looking to arrest is Mayor Carmine Polito (Jeremy Rinner). On the surface Carmine is greatly helping the community, but if you were to dig a little, you'd find that he isn't quite the savior he's thought of as. His newest plan is to revitalize the gambling in Atlantic City. Irving and Richie hatch a plan to entrap Carmine, despite Richie's boss, Stoddard Thorsen (Louie CK), objecting. Using one of Irving's friends, Paco Hernandez (Michael Pena), posing as an Arab Sheikh willing to invest, they set up a fake meeting and the ball beings rolling on the biggest con of Irving's life.
This was a movie I really liked when I was watching it. The look, the long con and the lead role Christian Bale played had my interest. I the overall look of the film was great. Though sometimes a bit over stylized, the characters never looked out of place in this late 1970s set movie. One of my favorite things about movies is getting caught up in the surroundings. When a movie doesn't do that well, it really does bring it down. The overall story was pretty fun as well. It's always fun to watch a plan unfold over the course of a movie, and this was a fun one to watch. Not original by any means, but it still was something that won't leave you disappointed after watching this. Crime and con movies more often than not, fall flat. This movie found a way to not be awful, while not getting overly complicated and turning into a mess. Finally the acting, at least by Christian Bale, was pretty good. This is his first role post-Batman, and while not his strongest performance, it was one that's very good. He really gets into the role and plays Irving Rosenfeld well. I think at this point I can look forward to more Christian Bale, as the roles he's been playing as of late suit him well. The supporting cast does him well in this too, and he really does shine as the best character and actor in this film.
This was also a movie that I really felt could've been much better. Dwelling on this after watching it, it all hit me. David O. Russell is not a writer and director I'm too keen on. Last year's "Silver Linings Playbook" was only okay for me. Partly due to the acting and partly due to it just flat out losing my interest. This movie doesn't do that to me, but there are so many places that could've been better. The con, while fun, wasn't really that great in the end. The writing felt rushed, even though the movie was pretty long. Honestly, the best writing parts of this for me were the scenes involving Louis CK and his ice fishing story. The acting, while great from Bale, was lacking everywhere else. Amy Adams, Jennifer Lawrence and Bradly Cooper are all fine actors and I like their work. But in this film, they do not deserve Academy Award Nominations they've received. The final scene Jennifer Lawrence is in, she is great, and I wish that character had been the one portrayed the whole time. Bradley Cooper plays a bumbling FBI agent. Amy Adams plays a woman with a bad British accent 90% of the time. Oh yeah, Robert DiNero is in this too, his one scene was fine I suppose. Overall the roles were fine, but not Oscar worthy. The movie felt long as well. You can compare this to other movies nominated that never felt long that were half an hour and an hour longer.
"American Hustle" is still a good film, despite my harshness and criticisms towards it. Christian Bale leads a capable cast in a fun, rushed, but still kind of long, con film. David O. Russell is looking to clean house again this year at The Oscars with his film and ensemble cast. But, like last year, he's made a movie that will most likely get awards to his cast, for doing mediocre jobs. This is worth your time simply for the fun you'll have watching it. "American Hustle" is a movie that's getting a lot of praise, for simply being good, when it could've been great.