Reviews of Movies, TV shows & metro Detroit Restaurants

Short movie & TV show reviews and metro Detroit restaurant reviews

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Movie Review: "American Hustle" (2013)

As I stated in my review for Saving Mr. Banks (which was ROBBED by not being nominated for any 2013 Oscars), I saw two movies over Christmas vacation based on true stories, Banks and American Hustle, which DID receive a lot of 2013 Oscar nominations (10 to be exact).  American Hustle was directed by David O. Russell and stars everyone (Christian Bale, Jennifer Lawrence, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner, and an awesome uncredited actor who I will not name as it surprised me when he showed up).

I had originally thought this movie was great and deserved to be nominated for Best Picture & other Oscars. I have since changed my mind because I started thinking about other Best Picture nominees over recent years and this movie doesn't hold up to those (recent movies that came to mind when I compared them were Lincoln, Argo, Zero Dark Thirty, InceptionThe Social Network,even Russell's own Silver Linings Playbook...I won't even get into some of the older movies that I love). I did like this movie, I just think it is getting more credit than it deserves. I need to start putting movies into perspective a bit more, especially from an emotional standpoint as movies that "move" me usually stick with me. I can't say that American Hustle moved me, but it did entertain me (which is what movies are supposed to do as well, right?).

Back in the late 1970s, the FBI conducted an operation called Abscam where it was aiming to take down corrupt politicians (which it did wind up doing) by using a con artist and men posing as Middle Eastern sheiks. This movie is very loosely based on that sting operation. The con artist in question is Irving Rosenfeld (played by Bale) who is working with Sydney Prosser (Adams) when they eventually get busted by FBI agent Richie DiMaso (Cooper with the best Jheri curl hairdo ever seen on a white man!). To avoid prosecution, Irving & Sydney begin to work with Richie to bring down corrupt politicians, most notably Carmine Polito (Renner) the mayor of Camden, NJ. They use a fake sheik (played by Michael Peña) for this operation which eventually winds up involving the mafia when the sheik is brought to a casino party. All of this time, Irving who is married to Rosalyn (Lawrence) is carrying on an affair with Sydney who Richie also falls in love with. This love quadrangle makes things interesting to say the least, especially when the fiery Rosalyn is brought into the mix. The sting operation culminates with Congress members eventually being arrested and with a twist involving the perpetrators of the operation itself.

As I said at the outset of this review, I changed my mind with respect to how great I thought this movie was. I certainly thought it was good and very entertaining & fun. It has some truly funny moments as well as some great dramatic moments. I personally would not classify this movie as a comedy though as it has been branded. It's more of a caper/adventure/drama with some comedic moments (like how Richie gets his sweet hairdo & Rosayln's manic behavior). The performances by Bale, Cooper & Lawrence all stand out as well. Are they Oscar-worthy though? I'm not so sure. And Russell directs this wild ride quite well.

Yes, I really liked American Hustle...8.5/10 stars

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