Sunday, 2 February 2014

American Hustle (4 Stars)

I watched "American Hustle" in the cinema today. It's been in the cinemas a few weeks, so it was probably my last chance to see it. It's been nominated for 10 Oscars at this year's Academy Awards, including best film. 2014 seems to be a dull year for the Academy Awards. "American Hustle" is better than any of the other nominations, except possibly "Her", which I haven't yet seen. I doubt it will win the best film award though. The best film doesn't always win. Just look at "Argo" last year, which won the award for political reasons, although "The Life of Pi" was much better and everyone knew it. The Academy Awards are all about politics. My prediction this year is that "12 Years a Slave" will win, carried to victory by the white man's burden of guilt.

"American Hustle" is a cute but complex tale of love and deception in 1976. Irving Rosenfield is a small time conman working in New York City. Together with his partner, Sydney Prosser aka Edith Greensley, he is taking advantage of people in debt, because they are the ones desperate enough to believe in anything. He charges a non-refundable $5000 fee for getting them a loan, but of course he is never able to get them a loan. The FBI manages to bust his operation for fraud, but the ambitious young agent Richie DiMaso offers him a deal: if Irving can use his expertise to set up an operation that exposes four US politicians as corrupt he will drop the charges.

This is where the story gets complex. Carmine Polito, the Mayor of Camden, is trying to secure loans to rebuild Atlantic City after the recent legalisation of gambling. Irving is set up as a businessman to become Carmine's partner and bribe four US congressmen to give their assistance in the rebuilding project. But Irving doesn't trust Richie, so Sydney pretends to be in love with him to trick him. Irving becomes close friends with Carmine and begins to respect him when he realises that he's an honest man whose only wish is to serve the people, even if he sees bribes as an unfortunate necessity to help create new jobs in his city. Then the Mafia get involved in the deals, scaring Irving out of his mind. And did I forget to mention that Irving also has a wife who knows nothing of his dealings, even though she has her suspicions? As if this weren't enough, she falls in love with a Mafia boss. The chaos is complete.

This is a good film that I'll definitely watch again when I get a chance. Maybe I won't get so confused the second time round.


  1. I have watched American Hustle twice and loved it both times. I do agree it is a great movie and I found a few of the other nominees for awards this year to be good movies as well. That goes against the normal for me as usually the ones that win all the awards are ones I don't care much for. Dallas Buyers Club was fantastic! Leto was amazing in his role and I loved the way Mathew committed to the character. American Hustle I loved for the music and the costumes, as a kid growing up in the 70's it just made me feel good to watch. I've also watched The Wolf of Wall Street twice and I think I found it by far the most entertaining of the 3 films. Leonardo is perfect in his role but I have to give it to Jonah Hill, him and those amazingly white teeth stole the show for me. Although it's not winning all the awards the other movies won, I found The Butler to be a very moving and well done movie. Oprah made me cry like a baby! Unfortunately I have not had a chance to see 12 Years a Slave, Nebraska or August Osage County yet, but if the other movies are any indication I'm sure I will enjoy them also! Can't wait for Ellen to host the Oscars!!

    1. Thanks for your comments. I feel the need to see "American Hustle" again. There was so much going on that I got a bit confused, I'm sure I missed things.

      "Dallas Buyers Club" hasn't been shown in England yet. It was released on November 1st in America, but not until February 7th in England.

      I have no interest in seeing "The Wolf of Wall Street". There's something about Leonardo DiCaprio that irks me. I avoid films that he stars in. My friends from the film club all praise it, but I'm still not tempted.

      I missed "The Butler". It was shown while I was busy at the murder trial every day. I probably will like it when I see it. Forest Whitaker is a great actor.

      I'm not particularly interested in seeing "12 years a slave". The film club went to see it without me. When I asked them about it the opinions were divided. Some loved it, some hated it.

      I'm expecting good things of "Her", another film that's late being shown in England. In America it was released on December 18th, but we won't get it until February 14th. The "Her" trailer is the only film trailer that's ever made me cry.

      My favourite film of 2013 was "World's End". It's a disgrace that it didn't get any nominations.

  2. Forgot to mention, Jennifer Lawrence in American Hustle ... A M A Z I N G!!!


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