Film Fatale: A cine-study of "American Hustle"

Film Fatale: A Cine-study of "American Hustle"


Back in the day, if you wanted to be a con artist, you had to do the legwork. There was none of this computer hacking, identity theft from your couch nonsense. You had to actually get out there and BS people to their faces. So you really have to have a modicum of respect for flim-flamers who were talented and dedicated enough to attempt a major job involving both members of the mafia and members of congress. We're talking about grand scale lying, accents, costumes, accomplices and some pretty serious acting chops.

In David O. Russell's latest film "American Hustle", you can't help but admit... these guy's were gooooooood. The movie is a fictionalization of the notorious ABSCAM sting operation that took place in the late 70's/early 80's in which the FBI cohorted with convicted confidence men to bring down big time politicians for taking bribes. The movie practically writes itself, with U.S. Senators meeting in clandestine luxury locations, accepting briefcases of cash from a coked-out FBI agent, felons with fake accents and a phony sheikh. I mean, it's just beautiful. So, as far as a plot line goes... it's all there.

So far this film has been heavily nominated for both SAG and Golden Globe awards, with Oscar knocking on the door. In my less-than-humble-quasi-film-snob opinion, it absolutely deserves to be a front runner. The writing is strong and the delivery is nothing short of brilliant. Christian Bale is pure genius. Mind you I've been uncomfortable with him since "American Psycho" so for me to love him is a big deal. Amy Adams is literally his partner in crime, and deliciously deceiving. Bradley Cooper is the perm-sporting FBI agent and pulls out the best performance I've seen from him to date. Jennifer Lawrence was as much fun as a tacky New Jersey house-a-holic can be. Robert DeNiro is the perfect mob-boss. Obviously. And one of my favorite characters is Louis C.K. who plays Bradley Cooper's boss, but kind of plays it like himself, which is probably why I loved him. Jeremy Renner rounded out the cast with maybe the best bouffant pompadour in cinematic history. The total effect is exciting and sketchy and simply well executed.

This is not just a must see, this is a "Why are you still sitting there, get in your car now" see. And crank up some Stones on the way, it'll get you in the mood