American Hustle (2013)
David O. Russell’s (Silver Linings Playbook) latest film centers on two con-artists, Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) and Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams) who are forced to work with the FBI in capturing criminals during the 1970s. As the title sequence states some of what is shown actually happened. American Hustle includes a top-tier cast including Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro (a list including many of my favorite actors and actresses).
Silver Linings Playbook was my favorite movie of last year. With many of the same principal cast and director I thought gold would strike twice. I am disappointed to unequivocally state that this isn’t the case. In fact American Hustle may very well be the most disappointing film of the year in my book (a pretty hard statement especially with my thoughts on Man of Steel). While the film is only 138 minutes long, it felt like it was way longer. I remember checking my watch, thinking half the film was over only to learn that 20 minutes had passed by. It’s that kind of movie.
I like David O. Russell as a director. He typically has a refreshing knack for visual acuity and sensibilities; most showcased in comedic scripts. Any sensibility he may have is blundered in the heart of this plot. While the acting isn’t terrible it isn’t Oscar worthy as heavily suggested by the press and media. Interestingly enough Louis C.K., who has a small role, did the best job. I kept waiting for it to get good. There certainly were moments of interest, but they were quickly and viciously sedated by long bouts of textual emptiness. The second half of the movie piqued my attention and saved this movie from an even more dreadful review and subsequent grade. Luckily Lawrence’s character was able to bring forth much-needed humor to the movie.
I would sum up the movie as a soup of vulgarity and dramatic exuberance for the mere sake of their existence. At one point Bradley Cooper’s character says the word “boredom.” He must be psychic because he was reading my mind. While this movie has garnered rave reviews from acclaimed critics, I strongly urge you to save you money. Rent it, if you care. But this is definitely NOT a movie to watch in theaters. I should have listened to fellow blog Chicago Cinema Circuit. Had I listened, I could have saved my $10.75. Don’t make the same mistake I did.
MPAA Rating: R (pervasive language, some sexual content and brief violence)
Running Time: 138 minutes
My Grade: C-
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