After viewing the trailer, I wasn’t really sure what to expect from American Hustle. Well, except maybe great actors.
And yes, the cast does an amazing job in this film. Christian Bale is great as always, even if the extra pounds on him are fake (at least I think so; didn’t look real in several shots).
Amy Adams just blew me away – she has a real vulnerability about her and her character is rather psychologically unstable, yet she manages to balance it perfectly with the strength Edith nevertheless possesses.
Jennifer Lawrence had fun, I’m sure. She went from one mood to the next with amazing speed and incredible smoothness. Everyone’s nominations are truly well deserved.
Too bad there’s only two actor awards for Bradley Cooper really delivered a stellar performance. And once, he had small pink hair rollers in his hair… omg, I’m still laughing!
Jeremy Renner gave me a lot of feels as Major Carmine Polito. Especially about his hair. Really? Elivis hair? It almost blemishes his looks. Almost.
Several interesting choices, deliberate breaks with continuity editing, some montages with music – it’s all very creative and always serves the story and characters. I might re-watch the movie for this alone!
Costumes & Make-up
I’m not fashion-savvy when it comes to the 70s and 80s but by the look of it, I’d say they nailed it. Especially the hair. It might be because I’m a 90s kid, but the hair was it’s own character in this movie. Irving had a really bad comb-over, Carmine Polito suffers from Elvis hair…
Oh, but the clothes! I have no fashion sense, really, but those dresses, wow. Where did they go? Especially Amy Adams as Edith often wears dresses with a big cleavage sans bra which I find to be a very sensual look. Can we bring that back? In the spirit of retro? Please?
Story & Script
We start somewhere in the middle and then, when Irving Rosenfeld (Bale) leaves the scene, a voice over leads us back in time to when he met Edith (Adams) and we progress back to the present. I love non-chronological narration and American Hustle did it beautifully!
We follow the characters further through intrigue and mischief, lies and deceit and it’s all very exciting though sometimes I found they were trying too hard. Wanted to turn this into a mind blow for which it lacked the necessary components. You do have a big “Ohhhh” moment at the end, but I had the impression they wanted to turn it into something epic. That might just be me, but still, it bugged me.
This did affect the characters as well – they’re all broken and/or a tad insane yet at some points I felt like they were overemphasizing it. Like putting up a big neon arrow pointing at Edith (or Cooper’s character Richie, or Bale’s) that reads “S/HE HAS ISSUES”.
Other than that, the script was brilliant. Real, life-like conversations, every character has their own language and I often thought to myself “Wow, I’d love to be able to write like that.”
So yes. It’s a great movie that sometimes tries to hard. I doubt it’s enough for best picture, but if Amy Adams or Jennifer Lawrence doesn’t win as best actress, I don’t know what the world is coming to.
And please, dear Academy, please: Give eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell the Oscar for best original screenplay. They deserve it!
D: David O. Russel
Cast: Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner, Amy Adams, Jennifer Lawrence (and Robert deNiro – hi!)