Thursday, December 19, 2013

American Hustle Review - 4 Stars

Director David O. Russell’s follow to “The Fighter” and “The Silver Linings Playbook” establishes him as one of the greatest directors of our time.  Loosely based on the scandal of the 1970’s  in which the FBI created a scam that included a fake Arab sheik offering bribes to elected officials in exchange for gambling licenses in New Jersey.  The film begins with a disclaimer that ‘Some of this actually happened” and takes off from there.  Christian Bale plays a small time con man, owner of a chain of dry cleaners, who meets Amy Adams and discovers a con woman soul mate.  They begin scamming people desperate to borrow money and things goes swell until the FBI snags them.  Ambitious agent Bradley Cooper sees an opportunity and brings them into the Abscam sting, using Bale’s friendship with a big city mayor played by Jeremy Renner to entrap him in a pay off scheme  Pretty soon one con tops another until your head starts swimming.  Jennifer Lawrence turns in a dazzling performance as Bale’s volatile wife.  “American Hustle” will draw comparisons to “Goodfellas” and the comparisons are deserved,  escept “American hustle” is better.  A story about the irony of justice and the art of the con, “American Hustle” charms you for an evening that remind all of us why we love the movies.  Does it deliver what it promises?  Great storytelling. Is it entertaining?  Compelling.  Is it worth the price of admission?  No question.