Film Review – American Hustle (2013)

Christian Bale;Amy Adams;Bradley Cooper

Title: American Hustle (2013)

Director: David O. Russell (Three Kings)

Cast: Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Jeremy Renner, Louis C.K, Jack Huston, Michael Pena, Shea Whigham

Plot: Conman Irving Rosenfeld (Bale) along with his mistress Sydney (Adams) are drawn into a dangerous game that FBI agent Richie DiMaso (Cooper) has set up to capture politicians and mobsters accepting bribes. Things take a turn for the worse when local Mayor Carmine Polito (Renner) and Irving’s wife Rosalyn (Lawrence) get involved.

“You’re nothing to me until your everything”

Review by Eddie on 25/04/2014

After finally watching American Hustle I just had to look up the meaning of the word “overrate” and this is what I found –

have a higher opinion of (someone or something) than is deserved.
“an overrated player”
synonyms: assess too highly, overestimate, overvalue, rate/prize too highly, think too much of, exaggerate the worth of, attach too much importance to;

praise too highly, exaggerate the merits of, over-praise, oversell, glorify, magnify;
informalblow up;
“it is easy to overrate what Frederick achieved”

Much of what you see above you is a perfect summation of what American Hustle is, a film overrated to the point of complete saturation. Upon release critics and audiences alike were swept away in a frenzy of hype for a movie that, while highly enjoyable in many respects, is also completely and utterly unmemorable and way tpo self assured to ever become anything more than a slight Hollywood romp.

David O. Russell is a director who in recent years has found favour where once he had mere art-house aficionados. Hustle, much like his previous and even more offensively overrated Silver Linings Playbook saw the director strike awards gold and box office gold with a story and script that wafts in it’s own importance. Much was said about just how witty and biting the dialogue in Hustle is but personally I felt it’s nothing more than a sneaky smile inducing type of event. Russell seems to have said to the cast “speak loud, fast and at times mumble” as much of what is said on screen is done in such an over the top, unbelievable way that its hard to see these characters as real people or in fact care for them and their various plights, and that’s where the film falters above all else.

The lead characters in the piece, Irving and Sydney, are well played by Bale and Adams, with Adams in particular the most worthy of the critical lauding the ensemble received. Bradley Cooper, who is once again cast in a role that feels like a different take on the same character, is nothing more than annoying while Lawrence has moments of both averageness and softly spoken greatness. The story these characters inhabit is such a complicated and murky one that we the audience really needed more to hold onto to carry us through, but you’d be hard pressed to care whether they succeed or fail with such an unlovable bunch; in the end it’s likely you’ll wish you spent more time with Jeremy Renner’s mayor than any of these “cons.”

It’s hard to fathom that Hustle received 10 Oscar nominations this year, but justice was served with it walking away empty handed. Sometimes a film comes along and strikes a cord with a moment in time and that’s what Hustle is, a quick con that succeeded at the time yet in time will be quickly forgotten about. It’s an enjoyable 2 hours thanks to a intriguing real life scenario and some interesting acting but overall American Hustle is not as cool as it so clearly thinks it is.

3 intense comb-overs out of 5

37 responses to “Film Review – American Hustle (2013)

  1. Agreed sir. The acting is outstanding but the plot is way too WTF. Russell likes to focus on characters and fill in a “plot” later but I truly believe he needs to spend more time screenwriting, or have someone to check and balance off of. Way too incoherent, I’d give it a C or a C+.

  2. I love your comb-over rating 🙂 But I really, really liked this movie and pretty much everything about it. I did think it stole some well-deserved thunder from Wolf of Wall Street which I liked even more (except for the length), but Hustle really spoke to me.

  3. Great Review Eddie, I completely agree about how over-praised this film was and was glad it didn’t win any oscars. While it was fun in places, I also thought it felt to be about 3 hours long. I did like the De Niro cameo though.

  4. Good review Eddie. I had a wonderful time with this movie. Even though it was basically just a Scorsese movie, but with different people, they were all still great and absolutely have the time of their lives with this. Making it a whole lot better for me to actually watch and just enjoy.

  5. Nice review and interesting to read your take on it! I liked this a lot more…mainly because I think it’s very cleverly-constructed. I enjoyed it more than The Wolf Of Wall Street when I saw it at the cinema, which out of the Oscar contenders is the one that I thought was a bit overrated.

  6. For some reason I was never compelled to see this in theaters. Always felt comfortable waiting to rent it. After all the rave reviews I was beginning to regret, but you give me some reassurance here 🙂 Thanks for the review, Eddie.

  7. I loved every moment of American Hustle when watching it in the cinema, but you’re right in the sense that a few months on, it hasn’t aged brilliantly with me. I still think it’s a really good film, but overrated to a degree. Though I do reckon Bradley Cooper is hilarious! Great review Eddie!


  8. Enjoyed your review. I agree with you on it not being the bees knees but disliked it a little more than you I think. Something bothered me about how extravagant they tried to make everything, making me dislike it even more. Not to mention I am probably the only one who really disliked Amy Adams, don’t find her sexy, especially when she was trying so hard.

    • Ha great thoughts mate, I must admit it seemed the whole cast thought pretty high of themselves here and really the story was not as ground breaking as it thought it was.

  9. Totally agree that it was overrated – in a year of great movies this one had no place being so praised. I also wasn’t that blown away by any of the acting and think this was one of my least favourite roles that Adams has played.

    Her performance in Her last year was way more interesting in my opinion!

    • Hey Jordan and eddie, would you PLEASE be able to delete the above comment I made using a username that i have now deleted? It comes up in Google and it’s incredibly annoying. WordPress doesn’t allow users to delete their comments so unfortunately I have to resort to this. Would really appreciate it if you could delete that and this one. Thank you.

  10. I liked this film well enough, but, yeah, didn’t seem worthy of the degree of praise it has received. It was interesting, kept my attention, etc., but I wouldn’t give it more than a 7/10 I think.

  11. I think 3 out of 5 is being generous. Short of Adams’ cleavage, this film has no lasting memory for me, and I feel that Lawrence’s character was written it right at the end when she blew up.

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