‘American Hustle’ Film Review

Posted: January 12, 2014 in Movie reviews
Tags: , , , , , , , ,


Hi everyone. This is the first film review of 2014, so I decided to go and see a film that had gotten so much praise both from critics and audiences alike: American Hustle.

American Hustle is an American Crime Comedy-Drama film directed by Oscar winning director, David O. Russell. The film is very loosely based on the FBI ABSCAM operation that occurred in the late 1970s and early ’80s. It stars an all start cast, including Christian Bale and Amy Adams as con artists Irving Rosenfeld and Sydney Prosser who are forced by FBI agent Richie Di Maso (Bradley Cooper) to set up a number of elaborate sting operations to bribe and catch corrupt politicians, including the mayor of Camden, New Jersey, Carmine Polito (Jeremy Renner). During this, Irving is also trying to get custody of his son and a divorce from his wife Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence) who refuses to comply.

With such an all start cast and great reception from critics and audiences, you’d think this film was a masterpiece. Is it? Well…No. Now don’t get me wrong, this film is not bad, in fact it’s really pretty damn good. I just think it has some serious flaws and some pointless side plots.

First let’s see what’s good about the film: The acting from everyone is terrific, everyone excels as their character, my personal favourite was Christian Bale, who made Irving surprisingly likeable and hugely sympathetic. Amy Adams was great too as the love interest (Though her English accent isn’t really that great). I also really enjoyed the relationships, Irving and Sydney do have chemistry and the friendship between Carmine and Irving seems very genuine and real. The characters are all well done too.

Some of the bribing scenes are very tense, they get more tense as the film moves along. I really was on the edge of my seat wondering if the con artists were going to pull the operations of. The film also keeps you guessing, it is a con film, so you’ll always be wondering ‘Can you trust him, can you trust her, who on earth can you trust in this film?’ This was a very lengthy film, but I was always left wanting to know what happens to the characters. Also, not to give anything away, but there is a twist at the end which I didn’t see coming, and when the twist was revealed, I immediately smiled. It was right there in front of me, but I didn’t see it. I won’t spoil it for you, but I guarantee you won’t see it coming. I also really enjoyed the dialogue in this film. Definitely one of the film’s biggest strengths. Every conversation in the film seems very real and at times even intriguing.

Now onto the things I didn’t like about this film. Firstly, there was in my opinion, WAY too much voiceover. Now I’m okay with voiceover in a film, just don’t let in dominate the film, which sadly the film does. I’m currently in my final year studying Animation and Screenwriting at University and I know that voiceover should only be used in a film if it is relevant to the plot. Sometimes in this film it works, but a lot of the time it just seems very unnecessary. Also whoever’s narrating the voiceover is meant to be telling the story from his/her Point of view. Most of the time, it’s Irving who narrates, but then it’ll cut to Sydney or Richie. Make your mind up, movie!

Also, some of the characters goals are a little unclear, maybe it’s a film you have to watch multiple times to fully understand everything. This film is described as part comedy, but if no one told me that before I went in to see this film, I would never have thought it was a comedy. When the film tries to be funny, most of the time it just turns out awkward. For example, there is a scene in which Richie beats up his commanding officer with a phone, it’s clearly meant to be funny because of the timing and the way the scene’s edited, but I certainly wasn’t laughing and nor was anyone else in the cinema. Though to be fair there is one humorous scene with a microwave oven which got quite a big laugh out of me.

But the film’s biggest flaw to me was its third act, which went on FOREVER! It tries to cram so much information down your throats, its almost impossible to keep up. This leads to some very pointless scenes and subplots, for example, a romance between Rosalyn (Irving’s wife)  and a mob guard. This in turn leads to an extremely awkward scene in which she is dancing to ‘Live and let die’. Here she is swinging her head around like a lunatic and cleaning up her dirty and disgusting apartment. At first I was thinking that the character was going to start fresh and be a better mother, but no, she never really changes, so the whole scene was really pointless. It’s a bizarre scene as well, that will either make you laugh or scratch your head in confusion. I did the latter.

Overall though, I did enjoy the film. The characters well well done, it was very unpredictable, I did like and care for the main characters and the dialogue and acting were spot on. I just don’t think this film was the ‘masterpiece’ we were promised.

It’s a good film and I do recommend it, just don’t expect an outstanding work of cinema because even though I liked this film, it was anything but outstanding. But still, if you’re looking for a good, solid and entertaining film, then hustle in to see ‘American Hustle’.

Overall rating: 3.5/5

Reviewed by Nick Zabierek

  1. Matt says:

    You do understand that the English Accent is deliberately bad, right? The character is a scrappy ex-stripper from New Mexico.

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