Performances are top-notch… the story? Not so much.
When you have such great talent attached to a project, it’s almost impossible to dislike a film especially when you know it’s the cast and crew’s intention to actually make something legitimately good. David O. Russell’s American Hustle is commendable for its high production values. The cast was wonderful, the hair and costume was excellent and the whole film was shot superbly. The only thing I felt was lacking was the screenplay, which to be fairly honest… was quite disappointing.
My problem with the film was not exactly the material, but rather the way it was used here. It’s fairly strong content and if done in another way might’ve been more effective. For a comedy/drama however, it tends to bring up some tonal issues and it finds itself swaying awkwardly from one genre to another. I also felt the film was weakest at the beginning and end, as it took quite a while for me to warm up to the two leads (Christian Bale and Amy Adams). But later on when I actually started caring for them I felt like their story was abruptly ended.
Despite the hiccups, I really enjoyed my time with the entire cast. Adams and Bale truly deserve their nominations. Jennifer Lawrence is simply a force to be reckoned with and her Oscar nomination is no surprise. Three other actors need some love too: Bradley Cooper is on a roll lately, and while Jeremy Renner and Robert De Niro didn’t show up much, they make their moments worthwhile. It was such a joy to see them own their roles, and I can say their improvisations and timely delivery really helped this movie out. That’s American Hustle’s main attraction. It’s a must-see movie just for that reason alone. So while this may not be the year’s best, it would be a shame if you missed it.