Another Best Picture nominee for the 2013 Oscars (as of this posting) comes to Malaysian cinemas again. After having watched other fellow 2013 Best Picture nominees 12 Years A Slave and Her, I was looking forward to this film in Malaysian theatres. The film is called American Hustle. It is directed by David O. Russell who last year directed another Best Picture nominee Silver Linings Playbook (2012) and The Fighter (2010) which was a nominee two years prior. Russell was nominated for an Oscar as Best Director in all three films. That is a pretty good success rate of a director's previous three films.
Here’s a movie trivia. Silver Linings Playbook had nominations in the four major acting categories; Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress. American Hustle also has nominations for all the four acting categories. David O. Russell has the distinction of being the only directed who has films receiving nominations in all acting categories two years in a row. The Oscars for films in 2013 will handed out March 2nd, 2014.
|Direcctor David O. Russell (extreme left) with the cast of his film|
American Hustle is co-written by Russell and Eric Warren Singer. This film reunites Russell with his The Fighter co-stars Christian Bale and Amy Adams. It also reunites Russell with his Silver Linings Playbook co-stars Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence. Rounding up the ensemble cast is Jeremy Renner, Louis C,K., Elisabeth Rohm, Alessandro Nivola, and featuring an uncredited cameo from a very well-established actor who was also in one of Russell’s films.
Will David O. Russell create the same great essence from his previous films? Do read on…
|(L-R): Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner, Christian Bale, and Jennifer Lawrence|
After operating for some time, two business scam artists Irving and Sydney (Bale and Adams) gets apprehended by an FBI Agent named Richard (Cooper) for their crimes. In exchange for possible leaner court convictions, Richard persuades Irving and Sydney to help him bust big time politicians, including Mayor Polito (Renner), for corruption. Caught between it all is Irving’s wife Rosalyn (Lawrence) who feels she has been neglected. Irving, Sydney, and Richard together form a rogue task force in sting operations while juggling a love triangle among them. The film is inspired by events surrounding an actual FBI sting operation in the late 1970s.
|Dressed in 1970s outfit, Richard (Bradley Cooper) and Irving (Christian Bale) admire a painting|
Marvelous and solid. The plot may be difficult to grasp at times but eventually in the film, it all makes sense. In the beginning, the film serves up a cloud of mystery as to what will happen but soon it unravels itself bit by bit. There was good enough comedy blended into the story which made the film delightful to watch. What I liked is that the story had a few surprises along the way, in terms of enhancing a plot detail and character development. Speaking of characterization, each role seemed well-thought of. Among the five main characters I noticed five personality traits in each of them; The Logic One. The Romantic One, The Naïve One, The Crazy One, and The Innocent One. When you see the movie, you might see it. Though the climactic ending was a little shot but it was satisfactory enough for the film. As we progress through the film, the characters get deeper into their roles and myself as an audience felt more deeper involved in the film.
|5-time Oscar nominee as the leading lady Sydney|
What can I say, top class performances! This is a film which features five Oscar nominees in Bale, Adams, Cooper, Lawrence, and Renner. Bale and Lawrence have won Oscars before while Adams, Cooper and Renner are multiple nominees. Its hard to say which actor was exceptional but if I were to pick which one, it would be three-way tie between Bale, Adams, Lawrence. Each actor embodied their characters really well especially Bale who put on some weight to give his character more depth. This is one of Christian Bale’s best acting work and he does an almost flawless American accent once again.
|Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence as the sultry Rosalyn|
For a movie set in a certain era, in this case the 1970s, attention to details such as sets and costumes would be given particular attention. I liked the costume design for this film. The film does manage to bring about the ‘feel’ of that era and we do get the experience of being transported to that time. The cinematography was quite good too with various lighting conditions that alternate between the happy and somber mood of the film. Great usage of music from the 70s to reflect that era. Director David O. Russell once again brings his trademark shot of ‘constant use of Steadicam’, though is was not overly used in this film. I have watched Russell’s previous films Silver Linings Playbook (2012) and The Fighter (2010) which were great. I recommend another little known film made by him called Three Kings (1999) which starred George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, and rapper Ice Cube.
|Behind the scenes filming with Amy Adams and Christian Bale|
Slow at the beginning but it gradually ascends to a good climax.
A tale of lies, deceit, and manipulation, while juggling the hidden consciousness to decide what is the right thing to do.
|Christian Bale and Bradley Cooper in another scene from the film|
There is a lot of talking in this film and the scenes are long. The long duration of this film might not favour some people. Full of constant profanities.
Great story. Great acting. Great drama.
|Director David O. Russell on set with Jeremy Renner as Mayor Polito and Christian Bale as Irving|
I really enjoyed this film. It thoroughly deserves the Best Picture nomination at the Oscars and other awards that is given to the film. There are lot of profanities in this film so children are not recommended. For the rest of the movie-going audience, it is highly recommended.
9 out of 10.