Megan Ellison, Jonathan Gordon, Charles Roven, Richard Suckle, Matthew Budman (executive), Bradley Cooper (executive), George Parra (executive), Eriuc Warren Singer (executive) for Atlas Entertainment, Annapurna Pictures/Columbia
directed by David O. Russell
starring Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Louis C.K., Jack Huston, Michael Pena, Shea Whigham, Alessandro Nivola, Elisabeth Röhm, Paul Herman, Said Taghmaoui, Matthew Russell, Thomas Matthews, Adrian Martinez, Anthony Zerbe, Colleen Camp, Steve Gagliastro, Chris Trahan, Zachariah Supka, Christy Scott Cashman, Simon Hamlin, Martie Barylick, Dawn Olivieri, Becki Dennis, Jay Giannone, Arthur Birnbaum, Rob DiNinni, Michael Fennimore, Jack Jones, Danny Corbo, Sonny Corbo, Bo Cleary, Greg Maxwell, Mickey O'Keefe, Aaron Flanders, Erica McDermott, Alura Carbrey, Kayla Feeney, Shannon Halliday, Volieda Webb, Patsy Meck, Abby Lavin
written by Eric Warren Singer, David O. Russell, music by Danny Elfman
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For years, Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) was a small-fry conman who
knows about every trick in the book but also knows how important it is to
stay small. One day, he meets Sidney (Amy Adams), falls in love with her,
and eventually he tells her about his operations and takes her on board -
and she proves to be a great asset, much better in charming people into
handing her and Irving their money than he could ever hope to be. Soon
their businesses flourish - until they're shut down by the FBI. But Richie
(Bradley Cooper), who runs the investigations against them, makes them an
offer: If they help him con some politicians into taking bribes, they get
off scot-free. Irving doesn't like it, feeling it's too big a game they're
playing with too many variables to succeed, but it's not as if he and
Sidney had much choice.
The politician Richie targets is mayor Carmine
Polito (Jeremy Renner), a "good guy"-politician actually who is
loved by his constituency, and who was never suspected of any bribery at
all. Again, Irving doesn't like it, in fact not even Richie's boss
Stoddard (Louis C.K.) likes it, but Richie has a powerful D.A. (Alessandro
Nivola) behind him who wants nothing more than publicity, so the project
is pushed through, and before you know it, Irving is hard at work
convincing Carmine to - with the backing of a made up sheik - rebuild
Atlantic City, with all the necessary gambling licences in place and all.
Over the cause of all this, Irving and his wife (Jennifer Lawrence) become
good friends with Carmine and family - much to the dismay of Sidney, who
really loves Irving (and he loves her back), to a degree that she starts
an affair with none other than Richie.
Things get a little out of hand
when Carmine brings in a powerful mob boss, Tellegio (Robert De Niro), but
Irving does his best to stay on top of everything. However, Richie blows
the thing up more and more, and it starts to slip out of Irving's hands -
especially when his wife starts an affair with one of Tellegio's henchmen
(Jack Huston) and gives away some of Irving's trade secrets ... and
suddenly, Irving has the whole mob against him ...
Irving arranges a
meeting between Richie and Tellegio's lawyer to clear things up, but that
operation requires 2 million Dollars of FBI-money. The meeting seems to be
the crowning achievement in Richie's operation, as it leads to the arrest
of many a politician and congressman - but then it turns out the FBI money
has gone missing and Tellegio's lawyer was a phony ... and Richie has been
set up by Irving, but in such a way he can't get Irving for anything
without endangering his whole operation but good - and suddenly he's the
biggest loser of the game.
Irving and Sidney come out of all of this
relatively unharmed. Sure, his wife divorces him, but with Sidney at his
side, that's not really a bad thing. The only thing, the way he tricked
Carmine whom he considered his friend bugs him to no end, and he and
Sidney decide to walk the straight and narrow from now on.
and foremost, American Hustle is fun to watch: A great ensemble
cast set against a nicely achieved 1970's background make it easy to
follow through the movie's slightly over-convoluted narrative and many
plottwists. And the directorial effort, clearly inspired by Martin
Scorsese (though never achieving his depth), is light-footed enough to
make everything very accessible. The film however is not without its
downsides: On closer inspection, the characters all feel a bit empty and
their actions often lack motivation, and sometimes the film loses itself
in its own complexity and refuses to make perfect sense.
more an of an afterthought than anything else, as long as you watch it, American
Hustle is basically good fun!