Thursday, December 19, 2013

American Hustle

A Laundromat owner (a balding, pot bellied Christian Bale), with a needy wife (Jennifer Lawrence) and son at home, and his insinuating partner (Amy Adams) have perfected the art of the small con, until that is they get busted by an overly tenacious government agent (Bradley Cooper) who coerces them to use their talents in taking down a good-natured politician (Jeremy Renner) among a number of other public servants and organized crime figures. After assembling a superlative cast of A-listers and a nice little recent hot streak in The Fighter and Silver Linings Playbook, David O. Russell has found it opportune to sneak in American Hustle, a confounded, imperceptible, half-cooked con artist caper which barely contains one successfully carried out idea and even less laughs in what really amounts to the director's attempts to infuse his own blend of manic comedy into a deliberate restaging of Goodfellas. I spent half the movie wondering what its talented though misguided cast was attempting to do and the other half imploring the picture, with its interminable pace and slew of false endings, to conclude. The real hustle though, the success of which has been evident in year end critics' lists and sure to follow box office and award season glory, is that Russell's film is not only worth 138 excruciating minutes of your time but also one of the greatest films of the year.