‘American Hustle,’ What A Scheme!


American Hustle

What a hustle! I could barely keep up with who’s conning who. ‘American Hustle’ walked a fine line between comedy and drama. It definitely had a good mix. I had to wonder whether I should laugh or not. But I opted to laugh most of the time. The costumes for the 70’s era were spot on. And so were the hairstyles. Irving Rosenfeld’s (Christian Bale) comb over was priceless!

This film was certainly entertaining from the beginning to the very end. I’m usually not a fan of period pieces but I overlooked it this time. The acting in this film helped me forget it was set in the 70’s. This is a fictional movie, but director David O. Russell sold it like it really went down.

Irving Rosenfeld, a con man, and his “British partner” Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams) make a living by hustling people day in and day out. They were even able to sell milk to a cow! Not literally. They were just that good. But it didn’t take long for the FBI to catch on to their shenanigans. FBI agent Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper) took them both down. He agreed to give them a second chance if they cooperate in one of the biggest setups in history. DiMaso forced the two to help him take down Jersey powerbrokers and the mafia. I guess DiMaso wanted to make a name for himself at the bureau. Even Robert DeNiro made an un-credited cameo in the film. He played a mafioso. A shocker. I know. And the one person who could blow their covers was Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence), Irving’s wife. She was a loose cannon. She stuck her nose where it didn’t belong. She almost got everyone killed.

But the key to the underworld was New Jersey mayor Carmine Polito (Jeremy Renner). Jeremy portrayed an excellent Italian, truly nailed it. From the hair to his demeanor. His performance was approved by a real Italian that I know. Amy Adams on the other hand, did such a great job selling sexy. I have never seen her in that type of role. She and Bradley had hot sizzling chemistry on screen. There was so much sexual tension between them. Christian Bale, he was in a category all on his own. He made me forget it was Christian Bale playing a comb over con man. He is quite an actor.

DiMaso used Carmine to get access to the dirty politicians and the mob. It got really messy towards the end. And the ending was epic. It left me thinking, damn! who conned who?! It was a spectacular scheme pulled off by the con artists Irving and Sydney. Just when I wrote them off as a couple of loser amateurs. They proved me wrong.

‘American Hustle’ cons its way into theaters on December 20. Runs 138 min. Rated R.


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