Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Russell, Stars, Learn How To Do 'American Hustle'

By Darlene Donloe

There is a lot of hype surrounding David O. Russell’s upcoming release, American Hustle, set for release Fri., Dec. 20.  It’s being touted as one of the year’s best films. It’s being touted as some of Christian Bale’s best work.  It’s been touted as some of Bradley Cooper’s best work. It’s being touted as some of Jennifer Lawrence’s best work. It’s also being touted as some of Amy Adam’s best work.   Louis C.K. also turns in some incredible work.

Well, all that touting is true.

It is one of the best films of 2013. It’s also some of Bales’ Cooper’s, Lawrence’s and Adams’ best work.

The story is semi-true and tells the story of a dazzling con man named Irving Rosenfeld (Bale), who along with his equally cunning and seductive British partner Sydney Prosser (Adams) is forced to work for a wild FBI agent Richie DiMaso (Cooper). Just how much of the film is accurate about the famed Abscam caper that the FBI conducted in the late-‘70s, is up for debate. The movie actually opens with the words: “Some of this actually happened.”  In the actual story the FBI enlisted a career con artist from the Bronx to help them bust a mayor, six congressman and a senator for taking bribes.


In Russell’s tale, DiMaso, who isn’t sure who is conning whom, pushes Rosenfeld and Prosses into a world of Jersey powerbrokers and mafia that's as dangerous as it is enchanting. At the same time he falls for Prosser, which definitely complicates matters.

Jeremy Renner is Carmine Polito, the passionate, volatile, New Jersey political operator caught between the con-artists and the Feds. Irving's unpredictable wife Rosalyn (Lawrence), who clearly does not have a filter, could be the one to pull the thread that brings the entire world crashing down.

Set in the ‘70s, it’s a fascinating story to watch. As a voyeur, much like DiMaso, you’re not quite sure who is actually getting conned.  There are so many twists and turns, that one can’t blink or one will miss a vital part of the con.

(l-r) Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner, 
Christian Bale and Jennifer Lawrence 

The cast is superb. There isn’t a weak link in the bunch. This movie delivers the goods. It’s funny, there’s some drama, it’s sexy, it’s entertaining, the story is helter skelter and Russell’s direction in on the mark.

Kudos to everyone involved, especially Russell who created a great story and assembled a cast that seemed to effortlessly bring this vibrant story to fruition.

The fashions are just as much a character as the cast. While the acting is garnering a bunch of praise and nominations, the fashions are also causing heads to turn.  In addition to vintage Halston and Diane von Furstenberg, designer Michael Wilkinson created one of a kind pieces specifically for Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams. 

American Hustle, directed by David O. Russell (Silver Lining Playbook, The Fighter), is written by Eric Singer and Russell. It stars Bale, Adams, Cooper, Lawrence, Renner, Robert DeNiro, Louis C.K., Michael Pena and Jack Huston.

Running time: 138 minutes. Rated: R

On the Donloe Scale: D (don’t bother), O (oh, no), N (needs work),  L (likeable), O (OK) and E (excellent), American Hustle gets an E (excellent).

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