Since watching Ocean’s 11 I always loved a big movie that was built up and built up until it concluded with the main characters not only doing a one up on the antagonist, but also the viewer. The sort of film where you think you’re following the hero and their plans throughout, but you realised you’ve been duped at the end. American Hustle, being a film about con artists, does not waste this opportunity.
Con Artist Irving (Christian Bale) and his co-worker and partner Sydney (Amy Adams) are entrapped by FBI agent Richie (Bradley Cooper) to take down several high government figures by conning them into accepting bribes, including the Mayor Carmine Polit0 (Jeremy Renner.) The film follows Irving dealing with the hot headed and reckless Richie, trying to hold his relationship with Sydney and his wife (whom he hates, played by Jennifer Lawrence) whilst his morals are tested by conning Polito who, despite illegal dabbling, has genuine intentions to help the people of the city and becomes a close friend to Irving himself.
So is it good? Yeah. As said, I was waiting the whole movie hoping the ending would pack a punch and it does. Cooper plays Richie fantastically, showing him as the hilariously dimwitted, foolishly ambitious and often insane FBI agent looking to make a statement and climb up the agency’s ladder. Bale’s performance as an ageing Irving with shrewd intelligence, fulling embracing the role by making himself look like a fat old prick. The two female leads are brilliantly entertaining, adding some good domestic drama to the otherwise serious plot line.
As funny as it is in places, the conflicting morals and, as Irving puts it, ‘world of greys’ is shown very seriously throughout the movie; every character is three dimensional and because of this complexity, the whole scenario seems very plausible and entertaining. It is, after all, based on ‘some’ true events. The rousing soundtrack throws you right into the eighties which in my book, always comes with the guarantee of a good time.
What’s bad? It’s a bit long, clocking in at just under 140 minutes. Luckily, American Hustle just manages to make it until the closing credits before becoming tedious… just. The cracks do begin to show a little but are immediately patched by a rousing and raucous ending.
Clever, witty and delivers on all it promises, American Hustle is a big thumbs up. It doesn’t take a con artist to make you love this one.