American Hustle (2013) Review

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American Hustle (2013)

Directed by David O Russell

Christian Bale
Bradley Cooper
Amy Adams
Jeremy Renner
Jennifer Lawrence
Louis C.K.

Running time: 138 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
American Hustle is loosely based on the FBI ABSCAM operation of the late 1970s and early ’80s. It stars Christian Bale and Amy Adams as two con artists who are forced by an FBI agent (played by Bradley Cooper) to set up an elaborate sting operation on corrupt politicians, including the mayor of Camden, New Jersey (played by Jeremy Renner). Jennifer Lawrence supports the cast as the unpredictable wife of Bale’s character.

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My Opinion:

Be brief… Be brief… (Trying to make myself keep this short – I ramble on too much!)

This movie was good. Not great. A little overrated. (Sorry). I came away from it with the same sort of feeling I had after finally watching Silver Linings Playbook recently. Some very good performances in both films but, overall, something is missing. They both feel a little hollow. And come to think of it, I felt sort of the same way about The Fighter (I reviewed that in my early days HERE. Ugh – I should re-read that before linking to it. My old reviews were even worse than my current ones).

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Like with the other David O Russell films I’ve seen, it’s more about the performances in this one than the story itself. Don’t get me wrong – the story is okay but didn’t exactly blow me away. I was more excited to see the female actresses in this than the actors as I don’t really like Bradley Cooper or, especially, Christian Bale. However, Bale ended up being the best thing about the film – I really warmed to his character by the end of the movie. I love Amy Adams and think she also did a good job in this (and I loved all her 70’s outfits even though seeing so much of her boobs got a little disturbing after a while when I just watched her as a Disney Princess in Enchanted the other day). Lawrence & Cooper were good but I felt a bit like I’d just watched them doing somewhat similar characters in Silver Linings Playbook.

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American Hustle has a lot of the elements I like: Great actors & performances, decent script, good music (ELO!), and the 70s (I love that ugly-ass decade). But something about it didn’t QUITE work (for me) overall. It was good. I enjoyed it. Bale & Adams were great. It’s the first film I’ve gone to in 2014 but I already know where it’ll rank in my end of year list: somewhere in the middle. I’m looking forward to The Wolf Of Wall Street more, which comes out here on Friday. Will be interesting to see which one I prefer.

My Rating: 7/10

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84 thoughts on “American Hustle (2013) Review

  1. I will most definitely be watching this flick for one reason and one reason alone – the sunglasses.

    Every single promo photo, trailer and poster has the most awesome retro shades I’ve ever seen.

    • Agree – I did have fun with it. Overrated or not…. : ) I wanted to be Amy Adams. She looked hot. Although it’s unfair that the girls looked great & all we had to look at were really ugly guys!

  2. I agree.

    This is good, but it is not great. I think Russell over-directs a bit, telling what he’s already showing. If he’d just gotten out of the way, the actors could have made this pretty tremendous.

    I will contend, however, that Lawrence’s character in this is very different from her character in Silver Linings. She’s not nearly so smart here. And she’s far more manipulative.

    • But she’s pretty crazy in both. ; ) True – the film may have been better if he’d let the actors just do their thing a bit more as they’re a very talented bunch. I kind of liked it exactly as much as I expected to, though.

  3. Nothing wrong with your reviews! I enjoy reading them! To be honest, I have seen none of the movies, so I will have to look into it…

    Excellent review, as always.

    Now about that Wolf Of Wall Street comment… I really hope you get to see it this weekend, it was a freaking amazing film!

    • Thanks! 🙂 Yep – I plan on watching it as soon as I can. And hoping I like it much more than this. I do think Leo is great so I’m more excited about seeing him than I was about any of the actors in this one.

      • Oh you will (do you like Scorsese and DiCaprio’s collaborations?), it was just great.

        HA!!! I am so with you on that. I just start jumping when I see his name attached to a project, what an amazing man!

      • Well then, this is just more to add of the awesome things they do when they collaborate. I thought it was absolutely hilarious, well written, stellar acting all round and the soundtrack was suited, too.

        But now the question begs, will some narcotics, nude scenes and language throw you off of this?

  4. I’ve read all of your old shit and I think it’s all fantastic. So there! NYAH.

    This movie is getting a lot of action lately out here on WP and nothing is really compelling me to get off my ass and watch it. Sell me on it…

    ( ! )

  5. No matter which way you spin it, this movie is a ball to watch. That’s mainly thanks to the amazing cast who, despite having to work with some messy material, get through it all so perfectly in an enjoyable, high-functioning manner. Nice review.

  6. Total mess of a flick! All involved were running around like headless chickens doing impressions of people in other films (DeNiro was the favourite impression of the cast it seems) with not much of it clicking. The whole thing made me want to watch Goodfellas…so I went and watched Goodfellas.

    Nice review.

  7. I completely agree with your thoughts on this movie. It was good but not great. It’s a candy-floss movie: one you like but dissolves and fades away. No-one will remember this film in 5 years time. However, the title was misleading…it should have been called ‘American Cleavage.”

    Amy Adams was really good in it I though and she pulled of a surprisingly good accent at times. I’m glad she got an oscar nod for it.

    • Candy-floss movie – I like that! Perfectly sums up this film! As does American Cleavage. : ) I do like Amy Adams, though, and agree she was good. But I’ve just seen The Wolf Of Wall Street and, as I suspected, it’s a much better film than this one…

  8. Great review !!! Sorry I’ve been such an absentee commenter lately Mutant!!! 😦 But hey, now I get to blast through some of your recent posts, and I see a couple of very good titles I want to hear more about. I’m glad we are more or less on the same page about this film. I almost fell asleep in the film’s opening half hour, it was so exposition-heavy!

    • That’s okay – I’ve been a horrible horrible commenter! I’m sooooo behind on reading other blogs. Never find the time. : ( Glad that this is another movie we seem to agree on. : ) And I’m just back from The Wolf Of Wall Street & I think that is a FAR better film than this!

      • haha yeah it can really get out of control with me, too. i opened up my browser the other day and saw 30 new posts and i’m like. . wuuuttt. Time to get to work! 😀

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