Thursday 23 January 2014

American Hustle

Five stars. Five stars. Five stars. Five star-performances given by five star-actors in what has now been heavily rated as a five star movie. If you haven’t already, get yourself down to American Hustle.

It actually took me two tries to get a ticket for American Hustle, as the first showing I tried was sold out. Even when I arrived at the screen on time, it was so packed out that I had to sit at the end of the second row. It’s not surprising really; I’m sure most people have been tantalised by the glowing reviews, teasing previews and extraordinary cast. Before American Hustle even started, I knew I was watching five of the greatest actors of this time.

David O. Russell’s film is the story of Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) – dry cleaning owner by day, expert con man by night. He ropes in the help of Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams), his partner in more ways than one, but soon after hitting a peak, they’re caught out by the FBI, and soon find themselves working for agent Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper) - who has a bit of a wild streak himself. DiMaso is set on taking down the local mafia, but as Rosenfeld’s friendship with Mayor Carmine Polito (Jeremy Renner) starts to interfere, as well as his unpredictable wife Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence), how far will the con run, and who will still be standing when it crumbles?

Well, Christian Bale. I kind of feel like that’s all I need to say… What an actor, and what an incredible transformation. He absolutely throws himself into every role, and this is no exception. Bradley Cooper is certainly growing on me. Personally, I much prefer his serious acting side, displayed superbly in this, and in Silver Linings Playbook (another from David O. Russell). Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence are absolutely stunning. If their outfits don't start a new 70s fashion revival, I don't know what will; gimme those Farrah Fawcett flicks and give 'em to me now! Both portray these empowering women brilliantly; Adams is sophisticated and graceful, and Lawrence is both feisty and in need, but despite being rivals, both Sydney and Rosalynd are fighting for a better future, and it's hard to work out where your alligence lies. Jeremy Renner, probably the lesser known of the five, is also great. More of this proper stuff, Jeremy, less of the superhero/witch hunter please.

If I didn’t own so many of the songs already, I’d be running out to buy the soundtrack right now. Not only are they, for want of a better phrase, “proper tunes”, they also empower the film, plot and cast. What could be more brilliant than a slightly drunk and aggressive Jennifer Lawrence singing Live and Let Die?

American Hustle is action-packed, full of suspense, and I hope, an oscar-winning film. It's gonna be a tough race to the Best Picture finish line, but this movie is certainly a deserved participant.


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