Friday, December 20, 2013
Movie review: American Hustle contains star power, but needed more con-man suspense
I was hoping for more of a mob or gangster feel and it just seemed to be more of a game of cat and mouse.
When con man Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) and his beautiful partner/girlfriend Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams) are forced to run set-up jobs by FBI agent Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper) during the late 1970s, they are thrown into a situation where they can’t even trust each other. Side stepping their first target, Mayor Carmine Polito (Jeremy Renner), due to higher stakes, Irving, Sydney and Richie are now trying to taken down some of the biggest casino owners in Jersey. When Irving’s wife (Jennifer Lawrence) insists on being included, she almost ruins everything by being a huge gossip.
RATING8/10 stars – Well crafted, directed and acted, but was hoping for more “gangsta” with action and suspense.
Directed by David O. Russell (The Fighter, Silver Linings Playbook, Three Kings), American Hustle has his style written all over due to the fact that four of the five leads were in his last two films.
Right off the bat, I have mixed feelings about American Hustle. Positives include the wonderful acting, charm and crazy dialogue (which at times makes it funny). Bale does such a good job that I forgot it was him behind those dim glasses and bad comb-over. Adams also does a perfect job as the girl who plays everyone and no one can seem to trust. I can also see Russell’s solid direction here like I did in The Fighter and Silver Lining that could help him easily get the Oscar this year.
As far as the negatives go, one of the biggest things I didn’t like was the lack of feeling like this was a “crime” movie. It lacked suspense and any feeling like someone could or would be “whacked.” Only one person gets killed in this movie, and it is during a flashback that takes 10 seconds and is over before you know it. The person who is killed doesn’t even matter because it was more about who was doing the killing. I was hoping for more of a mob or gangster feel and it just seemed to be more of a cat and mouse affair, with everyone conning everyone else.
It felt like most of the movie was dialogue and arguing. I never felt like the movie had real direction until more than halfway through and even then I still wasn’t sure where the story was going. For a con movie, the ending felt pretty weak, but I’ll be the first to admit that I need to rewatch it for all the cues I didn’t notice the first time.
All and all, I feel this is a pretty solid film that went a tad soft throughout and could have shown more teeth. I wish there would have been a little action or suspense, but maybe I just need to see it again to truly appreciate the story.
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