Friday, January 17, 2014

American Hustle, Hollywood English Film movie reviews, Johnson Thomas, Rating: * * * 1/2

English Film review
Johnson Thomas
Typically American com-undrum!

 
Film: American Hustle(English)

Cast: Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner, Amy Adams, Jennifer Lawrence, Louis C.K., Jack Huston, Michael Pena
Director: David O Russell
Rating: *  *  * ½
This is typical American cinema- a talk heavy con within a con spoofy drama with sharply etched performances.
Director David O. Russell's fictional period crime drama is about a reckless FBI agent who recruits a con man and his alluring British partner into a scheme to gain the upper hand over other talented swindlers. Loud fashions and outsized shades abound from the first scene, in which paunchy, middle-aged Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) fusses with an elaborate hairpiece. It’s an intro that is quite telling. 
The screenwriters may have changed their characters’ names but most knowing viewers will recognize Irving as a stand-in for Mel Weinberg, a Long Island scam artist who joined forces with the FBI to avoid prison time. Out of that unlikely partnership emerged Abscam, an audacious sting operation that pushed federal undercover work to controversial new levels of manipulation and entrapment, resulting in the bribery convictions for seven congressmen and various other government officials in 1981.
 
Irving, is shown as a smooth-talking relatively honorable small-time hustler: He owns a legit dry-cleaning business but moonlights as an art forger and loan shark, bilking desperate applicants out of a few thousand dollars at a time. But things change when he falls hard for smart, beautiful redhead Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams), an unlikely kindred spirit who, with the worldly alias of a British businesswoman named Lady Edith, swiftly moves Irving’s scam into the big leagues.
 
When renegade FBI agent Richie DiMaso (Cooper) thrusts the deceptive duo into the treacherous world of New Jersey power players and underworld heavies, the thrill of the grift grows too strong to resist. Meanwhile, New Jersey politician Carmine Polito (Jeremy Renner) gets caught in the middle, and Rosenfeld's capricious wife Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence) holds more power than anyone could imagine.
It’s not a smooth enough con to pull-off. But it’s certainly ambitious and fitfully entertaining.  As directed by that master of modern farce,David O. Russell, this fictionalized account is less a dramatic FBI procedural than a human comedy writ largely on themes of duplicity and paranoia against a dazzling ’70s backdrop. The performances are all keeping with the mood and setting momentum for the narrative that tries hard to pull off a bigger con- By skimming over it’s indulgent length, and lack of emotional payoff!
Russell  and co-screenwriter Eric Warren Singer (“The International”) chart a shaggy, meandering journey across a sweeping and colorful true-crime canvas. Production designer Judy Becker, costume designer Michael Wilkinson, composer Danny Elfman and above all music supervisor Susan Jacobs — have managed to imbue the experience with  a palpable delight in the garish excesses of the era-mid-’70s New Jersey milieu.   The Director goes for style over substance in a major way and the result is an intermittently involving production !

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