There are moments in David O. Russell’s “American Hustle” that capture the profundity of film’s power to transport, entertain at the celestial level; the actors are stratospherically brilliant in their depictions of con- artists, sovereigns of subterfuge, ambitious FBI agents, jealous, disgruntled housewives, greedy, seedy politicians. Imbued with a myriad of hilarious twists, audiences breathlessly anticipate each tingling, scintillating curve.
Loosely based on the fraudulent, financial Abscam debacle of the 1970’s a barely recognizable, succinctly stunning Christian Bale is “Irving Rosenfeld” a small time swindler, concealed behind his legitimate dry- cleaning business; pairing with sexy, smart “Sydney Prosser” (sublime performance by Amy Adams) their sting goes awry and they are coerced into an untoward relationship with FBI agent, “Richie DiMaso” (Bradley Cooper is phenomenal as the hyper, ambitious, manipulative agent, with a permed coiffeur); as the scenario escalates, Irving’s wife “Rosalyn”(Jennifer Lawrence is divine as the floozy, foul-mouthed, cuckolded woman) capable of igniting a conflagration of voluminous magnitude.
Even the lesser characters give solid, stellar performances: Jeremy Renner, as the susceptible, gullible “Carmine Polito” mayor of Camden, New Jersey; garnishes empathy with his incredulous naivety and bouffant hair style; Robert De Niro is deliciously devilish as a kingpin of nefarious gambling cabals; Louis C.K. as “Agent Thorsen”, Richie’s superior, is superb as the only character without an agenda; Michael Pena gives a laudable depiction of a Sheik, ready to bankroll the disguised sting savants.
“American Hustle” more than a joyful, hilarious romp is a metaphor for the web of deceit, larceny lurking in varying degrees in all individuals; everyone fudges; the Internet partners in the obfuscation; be it weight, height, age, availability; the “con” informs, oftentimes subconsciously, one’s public persona; Polonius’s pivotal plea “to thine own self be true” has lost its significance, replaced by “necessity, (avariciousness) is the mother of invention”. Creative corruption is at the consummate core of this exhilarating, momentous movie.
FOUR & 1/2 STARS!!!!