Here’s a thing – I can make you rich. If you’re in need of credit, cash or liquidity but are somehow challenged, crooked, or desperate, come to me and I’ll sort you out...just as long as you give me an up front non-refundable fee…
American Hustle is the half true but mostly fictitious tale of Irving Rosenfeld – a superbly bulked-up and bloated Christian ‘Dark Knight’ Bale – who is a brilliant con man scamming desperate people out their money.
We meet him as he teams up with faux British-accented Sydney Prosser (Amy ‘Man of Steel’ Adams who sizzles throughout) but just as things are getting interesting for the pair, the FBI shut them down.
They are forced against their will to work for renegade Agent Richie DiMaso (a perm haired Bradley Cooper) who wants them to help him take down much larger fish who include senators, crime bosses and many other targets.
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But as the stakes rise so does the danger – and when the Mafia get involved in the shape of notoriously violent overlord Victor Tellegio (an uncredited Robert De Niro) things start looking tricky for our hustler heroes.
The plot is your average twisty turny scam-em-up but it’s the AAA cast who make this movie so much larger than life and must bring Oscar possibilities.
All the leads are excellent and include Jennifer ‘Hunger Games’ Lawrence as Irving’s wild card wife who just might bring the whole hustle crashing down with deadly consequences.
Drawn into the scheme is corrupt mayor Carmine Polito (Jeremy ‘Avengers’ Renner) who is prepared to do some shady deals in order to try and make New Jersey a better place – and make some money along the way.
The emotional friendship between Carmine and Irving is one of the film’s cores and you’ll find yourself genuinely moved by the interplay of men whose relationship is built on a lie.
Director Russell brings a convincing 1970s look and feel to the whole production – it really is like stepping back in time as you soak up the fashion and culture of the time.
American Hustle is a love letter to the shady dealings the tore the heart out of the US political system but it maintains a great balance between danger and fun.