Review Roundup: AMERICAN HUSTLE-A Movie Well Played

Related: American Hustle

A fictional film set in the alluring world of one of the most stunning scandals to rock our nation, American Hustle tells the story of brilliant con man Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale), who along with his equally cunning and seductive British partner Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams) is forced to work for a wild FBI agent Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper). DiMaso pushes them into a world of Jersey powerbrokers and mafia that's as dangerous as it is enchanting.

Jeremy Renner is Carmine Polito, the passionate, volatile, New Jersey political operator caught between the con-artists and Feds. Irving's unpredictable wife Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence) could be the one to pull the thread that brings the entire world crashing down. Like David O. Russell's previous films, American Hustle defies genre, hinging on raw emotion, and life and death stakes. Directed by David O. Russell and Written by Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell. (c) Sony

Let's see what the critics have to say...

Alonso Duralde, The Wrap: "Any number of movies have attempted to mimic the style and content of films by '70s mavericks like Scorsese and Robert Altman, but rather than quote the masters, Russell instead channels their bravado, their chutzpah and their love of working without a net. The result is one of 2013's most memorable movies, one that's strong enough to have been one of 1979's best as well."

Christy Lemire, RogerEbert.com: "Russell's film is big and big-hearted and more than a little messy, but that's apropos given the over-the-top characters, their insatiable greed and their brazen schemes. Sure, it looks like the cast went nuts at a Goodwill store and splurged on the grooviest duds they could find for an elaborate game of dress-up, but the clothes more than just a kitschy source of laughs: they're a reflection of their characters' ambition, a projection of their glittering notions of the American dream."

Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly: " He gets astounding performances from Adams, who is hell on wheels, and Jennifer Lawrence, who plays Irving's manipulative wife with a crazy-sexy fury that dares to be toxic. As for Bale, he's fantastic as a lying sleaze with a hidden heart. It's one of the film's rippling ironies that the FBI agent violates every code of decency to entrap crooks, and his prime target (that Jersey mayor) is the most honorable person on screen. In American Hustle, down is up, right is wrong, the con is the truth, and David O. Russell has become the most exciting filmmaker in America."

Rafer Guzman, Newsday: "Some of Russell's tricks feel familiar, but they mostly work. One is his deft way of fox-trotting his characters back and forth until whirling them together in one bravura sequence of fast-moving, crosscutting action -- in this case, a formal party teetering on disaster. Less effective is Russell's use of pop chestnuts (Steely Dan, Chicago, the Bee Gees) to set a mood or make a point. Lawrence's mad-housewife rendition of Paul McCartney's "Live and Let Die" may be a gonzo hoot, but it also feels too broad for this otherwise sublime movie."




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