This year’s most talked about films seem to be all about the art of conning–‘The Wolf of Wall Street,’ which we reviewed last week and ‘American Hustle’ are packed with all start casts, outrageous plots and greedy, ambitious characters.
In ‘The Wolf of Wall Street,’ the work of the main character, Jordan Belfort, was to swindle folks via the stock market. ‘American Hustle’ is more elaborate as its plot revolves around a loan scam created by Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) and later aided by his mistress Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams). The scam is pretty simple–offer a $50,000 loan from a nonexistent London bank for the small upfront price of $5,000. Of course, the two never deliver the loan and pocket the 5K. The two live lavishly off this scam as well as Irving’s three dry cleaning businesses in New York and his art dealing, in which he sells fakes as originals.
But this is not the bulk of the plot. The movie is really all about what happens when FBI agent Richi DiMaso (Bradley Cooper) catches them and asks them to help the FBI set up several high ranking political figures. The operation involves an undercover agent playing a sheik, who pretends to care about the growth of Atlantic City’s casino industry, the mayor of New Jersey (Jeremy Renner), several Congressman and a Senator. The big idea was to target corrupt politicians, and catch them accepting bribes to ensure proper licensing for the casinos. The story becomes twisted as you soon discover that everyone is a master manipulator and the true con is hard to detect. Who is playing who is the big question throughout the movie. Sounds crazy, right? The craziest thing is that ‘American Hustle’ is based on true events. However, ‘American Hustle’ is said to be a fictionalized tale of the events and the movie makers don’t hide the creative license they took. The opening scene of the movie states, ‘Some of this actually happened.’
Fact or fiction? Who cares! It’s a movie and it’s really entertaining. What makes ‘Hustle’ different (and perhaps better) than ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ is it’s humor, which director David O. Russell makes much more obvious than Scorsese did in ‘Wolf.’ The characters in ‘Hustle’ are more crazy than sad. From their over-the-top 70s /80s wardrobe and hair (try not to laugh at Christian Bale’s ridiculous yet meticulous comb-over) to Jennifer Lawrence’s role as Rosalyn (Irving’s wife), a young, naive wife and mom who pretends to understand her husband’s business but is really absolutely clueless to the wonderfully grumpy lines delivered by Louis C.K., playing Bradly Cooper’s boss, ‘American Hustle’ is full of clever one liners and hilarious scenes that will actually make you laugh out loud.