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'American Hustle' review: A stylish con game with incredible performances

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American Hustle (movie)

Rating:
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Writer/director David O. Russell has recently received praise and acknowledgment from film critics and audiences with successes “The Fighter” and “Silver Linings Playbook.” Reuniting him with stars of his previous films, “American Hustle” is an artistic and fun take on a film about conning.

Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) owns multiple dry cleaning locations and sells forged art for extra business. His money-making business is in conning people, though, and his girlfriend, Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams), transforms into British Edith to aid his business. Their cons are noticed by the F.B.I. and they’re forced to aid Agent Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper) in catching crooks to avoid jail. They begin to work with Mayor Carmine Polito (Jeremy Renner) as they market their fake sheik looking to invest in American projects, a ruse to expose political corruption. As the con gets larger and larger, Irving’s wife (Jennifer Lawrence) becomes a nuisance, a love triangle causes tension between Irving, Edith, and Richie, unexpected friendships challenge the characters’ resolves, and the mob gets involved.

The style of storytelling will not appeal to everyone with the sort of reflective narration from some of the main characters along with a slightly confusing progression of events, but “American Hustle” earns praise for its phenomenal acting and smart plot. Jennifer Lawrence has one of the minor parts, but her performance is her best (much better than her overrated Oscar-winning performance in “Silver Linings Playbook”). Other smaller parts are played extremely well by Louis C.K., as Richie’s boss, and Jeremy Renner as the charismatic, golden mayor. Of the three main characters, though, Amy Adams steals the spotlight (if you can stop staring at Cooper’s curly hair or Bale’s comb-over).

The incredibly talented cast is relied on to keep the audience’s attention as “American Hustle” is a little too long. There are quite a few comical moments, but the film moves at a mostly slow speed and is complicated with an abundance of characters, a few of which use multiple names.

“American Hustle” will probably not be remembered as David O. Russell’s greatest work nor is it likely to top the year’s Top 10 lists against films like “Gravity” and “12 Years a Slave,” but it is a terrifically made film with extremely good performances and a great ending.

Rating for “American Hustle:” A-

For more information on this film or to view its trailer, click here.

“American Hustle” is playing at many theatres in Columbus, including Marcus Crosswoods and Starplex Westpointe. For showtimes, click here.

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