Since loving the teamwork between Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook and finding out they are working together with David O. Russell, I have been waiting for this film for so long.
The fiilm see a con man, Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale), along with his seductive partner, Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams), forced to work for a wild FBI agent, Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper). However, DiMaso pushes them into a world of Jersey powerbrokers, mafia and politicians including the Mayor Carmine Polito (Jeremy Renner) and things get complicated because of Rosenfield’s crazy yet awesome wife Rosalyn Rosenfield (Jennifer Lawrence).
Now I always seemed to start with talking about the bad points and then the rest of the review is what makes the film work well (if it does). So, bad points. I guess with any film with a lot of hype, you definitely get hyped with it and sometimes it can spoil the film because it isn’t exactly what you hoped. So be warned, the film may not be what you think. The second point is that because it’s considered a cop/con man drama, you normally, as did I, think that the film’s will focus on the plot of conning the people, which it does look at – in order to get the film moving – but the film focuses more on the characters. IMDb states that “according to Christian Bale much of the movie was improvised. So, during the shooting of the film he noted to David O. Russell, “You realize that this is going to change the plot greatly down track.” To which the director replied, “Christian, I hate plots. I am all about characters, that’s it.”” One scene improvised is the funny scene when Irving and his wife Rosalyn fight in the bedroom. So although the film is good because it aims at looking at the characters, which I think O. Russell does very well in his films, just do not expect a complicated cop vs. con man plot. The other thing to point out is that you have to watch the first couple of scenes and you then get into the film more – the introduction/monologue of how Irving and Sydney met is long/slow.
Good points time – woo! Firstly, great cast! I say it with most of the films but this one definitely has a superb cast, not just because the main cast are well-known but they all act so well that you don’t see them as the famous actors they are in the film; you see them as the characters they are meant to be. The person who steals the show, no question about it, is Jennifer Lawrence as Rosalyn Rosenfield, Irving’s wife. Her husband sees her as a malicious woman who stays at home, is a bad wife and mother, and complains about anything. Apparently, in order to get into the role, Lawrence watched The Real Housewives of New Jersey – you can clearly see that she did because she acts just like them in film. From complaining and arguing with her husband to flirting with guys and chatting to other women – there’s even a funny cleaning scene – Lawrence always steals every scene she is in. I wouldn’t be surprised if she won awards for it. Rosalyn also has a lot of great lines and tends to mostly say ‘Thank God for me’. Also, it is worth mention how Bale is willing to add on loads of weight to fit the character perfectly; he’s known well now for changing his physical appearance and body weight for roles.
The soundtrack is brilliant, definitely some 70s classic (e.g. Donna Summer’s I Feel Love, which sees Cooper and Adams do some shapeshifting roll-your-arms moves on the dancefloor).
As mentioned before, the film looks more at the characters and how they change or cope with the new and old circumstances they face. And what I really like about the film is not the cop/con man drama but it’s how O. Russell can make the film’s characters stand out – with their attitudes, their emotions (romance and hatred) and a great script – and makes the film interesting without having to use loads of action. I recommend you see it because there are laughs and good twists but it’s the dialogue and the great casting that do it for me.
American Hustle: 8.2/10