Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) is a con artist. He is a second grade, makes a little on the side, con man. He meets Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams) and the stakes become higher. They have a good scam going and they are making money. In comes FBI agent Richie Dimaso (Bradley Cooper) and they get pinched. The cons get conned by the FBI. Dimaso informs them that if the two of them nab 4 people in a sting they can go free. No charges and no consequences, they are walking free.
The idea is to have a sheik who wants to invest in Atlantic City and turn it into the casino capital of the east coast. Problems arise when the con involves Irvin's wife Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence). The cons get the Mayor of Atlantic City Carmine Polito (Jeremy Renner) interested in the deal. Carmine wants to be involved and he gets the wives to go out and have a good time but Irving's wife is a nut job and almost gets him killed. She goes to a function and is hit upon by a mob figure. He sweet talks her and she just unloads. It almost breaks all the con wide open.
You see DiMaso wants to be some kind of big shot FBI field agent and he raises the stakes as they go along. If they are not careful all will fall around their feet.
As all this is cascading out of control, in come the big shots like Victor Tellegio (Robert DeNiro). Tellegio is an under boss for Meyer Lanskey out of Miami. DiMaso sees all this around him and wants to take everybody down. Irving and Sydney just want to get out of DiMaso's reach. Can all this happen, and everybody get what they want, well you need to finish the story and watch the movie. It is an interesting tale that has many twists and turns. It's worth the time and energy to watch.
Director David O. Russell does a wonderful job and brings us a movie that will make us look at how screwed up cons can get. It is an excellent tale of greed and stupidity. You see if Irving Rosenfeld could have just been happy with what he had none of this craziness would have ever occurred. Greed can lead to ulcers.