By Samantha Reid
Written and directed by David O. Russell of “Silver Linings Playbook” fame, “American Hustle” manages to tell a serious story about crime and survival with an undeniable comedic twist.
Billed as both a drama and a comedy, the film—similar to other heist-style movies—follows con artist Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) and equally conniving partner Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams) as they are forced to partner with the FBI in order to escape jail time for swindling working-class people out of thousands of dollars.
The plot itself is interesting, with enough twists to keep things moving throughout the two-and-a-half hour duration without feeling tedious. What really stands out, however, is the snappy dialogue. O’Russell and Eric Singer wrote such humanly flawed characters, and the humor is infused into almost every scene.
Packed with an all-star cast, it’s no surprise that the acting is award-winning. Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence both took home Golden Globes last week for their stellar performances.
Although a minor character, Hollywood darling Lawrence is a scene-stealer in her role as Bale’s jilted wife. Bradley Cooper plays unlikeable, attention-seeking FBI agent Richie DiMaso so convincingly that it’s hard to remember his usual charm.
Jeremy Renner from “The Avengers” fame is another stand out, playing Camden, New Jersey Mayor Carmine Polito, an uncommonly idealistic politician you find yourself rooting for even as he is unwittingly dragged down by scandal.
Finally, further comic relief comes in the form of Louis C.K. as Cooper’s boss and straight man.
The film has been compared to “Ocean’s Eleven,” another popular heist film, but O’Russell’s story is no carbon copy. The conclusion is far from predictable and the characters keep things from getting stale. The humanity and humor seen in each and every character keeps the story real, and the audience can sympathize with even the most twisted conmen.
The movie has been so well-received, in fact, that it beat out other critically-acclaimed films like “Her” and “The Wolf of Wall Street” for Best Motion Picture in the category of Comedy or Musical at last weekend’s Golden Globes. The film’s success, both critically and at the box office, is all the more reason to go see it before its theatre run is over.