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American Hustle

Directed by David. O. Russell

USA, 2013

Cornerhouse, 11 January 2013

American Hustle

Irving (Christian Bale) and Sydney (Amy Adams) are con-artists who’ve been caught by the Feds and forced to take part in a sting operation intended to entrap corrupt politicians.

He and she have been promised freedom at the investigation’s end in return for their cooperation, but they don’t quite buy it.  They are on the look-out for their own means of escape.

The film is a crime caper in the vein of Elmore Leonard or Donald Westlake (in particular, it has something of the flavour of the latter’s Dortmunder novels), whilst the cinematography owes a big debt to Scorsese, especially Goodfellas.  Entertainment is what it’s about, and it offers that in abundance; not depth nor darkness nor tragedy.  There is a fine period feel to it all: we are in the late ‘70s, which offers great potential for comedy.  There are splendid performances all around, particularly from Jennifer Lawrence.  Oh, and is it misplaced to see in Christian Bale’s lead performance a tribute to the late, great James Gandolfini?

Just a mite too long, perhaps, otherwise no complaints: a highly enjoyable film.