Surprisingly, the story of the Abscam scandal is not a serious film. But it is a seriously good film.
Director David O. Russell’s skillfully executed American Hustle offers so many breezy pleasures while telling the serious story of the Abscam affair, the preposterous-but-true 1970’s criminal investigation in which the F.B.I. utilized a swindler to ensnare public officials.
The opening tag tells us, “Some of this actually happened,” and the film benefits from that heightened reality approach by utilizing its garrulous characters.
The casts of Russell’s The Fighter and The Silver Linings Playbook combined, plus Jeremy Renner and Louis C.K play these over-the-top characters zestfully. That means we get Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Jennifer Lawrence and Robert DeNiro — all in their David O. Russell groove. Foxy!
Simply put: Ridiculously entertaining and impeccably cast. Do the Hustle!
Award potential: Every actor above is a front-runner in his or her category. The film and director also are shoo-ins. Best Screenplay, Cinematography, Costume and more should place this film just behind 12 Years A Slave and Gravity for multiple Oscar nominations.
The ten buck review: Worth ten bucks.