It has become a trend with Jennifer Lawrence to bag awards for her performances in a David Owen Russell movie. Last year it was ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ that won her all the coveted best actress awards including the Oscar and this year it is again for a David O Russell movie which is ‘American Hustle’.
Now coming to the story – FBI agent Richie Di Maso (Bradley Cooper) and con artists Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) and Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams) are posing as advisors to a fake Sheikh. Sydney improves Irving’s scams, posing as British aristocrat “Lady Edith Greensley.” In flashbacks, Irving meets Sydney, they bond over Duke Ellington records and eventually fall in love. However, Irving is reluctant to leave his adopted son with wife Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence), who will not divorce him.
Richie catches Irving and Sydney in a loan scam but proposes to release them if Irving assists him with four additional arrests. Sydney is against the agreement. Richie believes Sydney is British, but has proof that her claim of aristocracy is a fraud. Sydney tells Irving she will seduce and manipulate Richie, distancing herself from Irving.
The movie, an intentionally overripe comedy about corruption, duplicity, loyalty, and love, is a series of astonishment. Russell, rewriting a script developed by Eric Singer, takes off from the Abscam affair—the bizarre criminal investigation of the nineteen-seventies in which the F.B.I. called on a swindler named Mel Weinberg to help ensnare public officials. (Six congressmen and a senator were among those ultimately convicted.) The bureau’s elaborate sting involved two “Arab sheikhs” (both F.B.I. employees) eager to invest in Atlantic City’s nascent casino industry and willing to bribe officials in order to procure operating licenses. (“Abscam” was short for “Abdul scam.”) Russell has both simplified and juiced a tale that is already close to preposterous; he has created a fantasia told from the point of view of two con artists, a man and a woman (based loosely on Weinberg’s mistress). Not just the crooks but virtually everyone in the movie seems slightly crazed by ambition. The one person who’s ordinary in temperament, an F.B.I. supervisor played by Louis C.K., could be a member of a different species.
Christian Bale is in top form so is Bradley Cooper and Amy Adams. However as I mentioned earlier Jennifer Lawrence steals the show. The movie is slow at times however it doesn’t take the audience attention away from the main drama. The movie on the whole is a good attempt by Russell and will lead in almost all the awards functions with maximum nominations and wins. The movie also scores big in the technical department especially the music (Danny Elfman) and Cinematography (Linus Sandgren).
My Verdict: *** A Good Watch – Watch Out for Jennifer Lawrence 😉