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Surviving the con that is life

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"American Hustle" movie

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Hustlers and swindlers make their marks by making their targets believe that they can deliver on something that's too good to be true but never asks or wonder how it can be pulled off before it's too late as they become the next victim.

In director and writer David O. Russell’sAmerican Hustle,” his con takes places in the ‘70s and it involves members of Congress. The period becomes a character within the film with the feel, style and cinematography as noticable with the film opening taking the audience back in time.

Helping him are familiar faces from his previous films: “The Fighter” with Christian Bale and Amy Adams and “Silver Lining's Playbook” with Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence.

Mr. Bale and Ms. Adams star as Irving Rosenfield and Sydney Prosser under the alias of English Lady Edith Greensly. At first, they deal with the smaller preys before expanding their operation and ambitions in the targets they go after.

They connect so well due to their backgrounds and doing whatever it takes to survive life experienced through their parents and firsthand.

The chemistry between the two has the audience longing for them to be together if not for the fact that Irving has a wife, Rosalyn (Ms.Lawrence) and a son, who are oblivious to the couple and their scheming living.

Besides their relationship, Rosalyn will play a hindrance and becomes an obstacle herself as the film progresses. Ms. Lawrence continues to portray unstable characters albeit in a supporting role, but her character finds herself involved despite attempts by Irving not to intermingle his personal life with his business world.

Mr. Cooper portrays F.B.I. Agent Richie DiMaso who catches Irving and Sydney in a sting operations and uses them to his advantage to go after bigger targets with his eye set on Camden Mayor Carmine Polito (Jeremy Renner) and his political allies.

Mr. Renner’s first time go around in Mr. Russell’s ensemble shows that he can carry his own against them. His character has the audience empathizing with him in that he truly wants to do what’s right for his constituents and his town even if it means stepping beyond his jurisdiction and boundaries.

Richie’s over ambitious character is not to the liking of his superior Stoddard (Louise C.K.) who tries to keep him in check and tries to tell him of his tale of woe serving as a precautionary tale for Richie throughout the film.

Richie connects more with Stoddar’s superior, Amodo (Alessandro Nivola), who shares his taste of notoriety of the spotlight and taking risks by allowing Richie to lead the operation in what could be a defining moment in his career.

Irving and Sidney must make a deal with Richie and show him the game of the con, but the group finds themselves overlooking their original goal and target as the operation expands out of control and is no longer within their grasp.

Ms. Adams exemplifies this with her complicated relationship with the crew beween Irving, whom she is greatful and loyal for getting her out of her predicament and Richie, the newcomer who may be her only way out of the game before it's too late.

Like an elaborate con of his own, Mr. Russell focuses on the misdirection that leaves the audience putting the pieces together on how the con is pulled off in the end.

But before the reveal, the sting is only the tip as another collaborator well known in his film is featured in a pivotal scene that places the objective and goals in perils.

The players in the game are caught up in the elaboretness of it all as they improve the chances and outcome of the siutation with the help from one another to accomplish one of the greatest schemes as witnessed from the beginning until the very end.

Classification: Redbox New Blu-Ray Release

Movie Grade: 4 out of 5 stars

A star-studded casts from previous David O. Russell takes a look at the game of con as the participants and their marks realizes that things never go according to plan

Blu-Ray Grade: 0 out of 5 stars:

Only features the movie.

Rating: R for pervasive language, some sexual content and brief violence

Timing: 2 Hours, 18 Minutes

Genre: Drama, Comedy, Crime, Thriller

  • Writer: Eric Warren Singer
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