‘American Hustle’ cinematic piece of art
David O. Russell has quickly become one of my favorite American directors in this modern age of cinema. His star continues to rise with each picture he makes. Russell’s original motion pictures carried a dark sense of humor and taboo subjects, but he’s refocused his sights on a near critique and exploration of American living and corruption in the form of drugs, mental illness, and swindling.
Russell again burst on the scene after a six-year hiatus following his quirky, independent reflection of life, “I Heart Huckabees,” with one of the most powerful dramas produced in this decade, “The Fighter” starring Christian Bale and Mark Wahlberg.
Russell showed that his return wasn’t a fluke and knocked another film out of the park with his exploration of human consciousness, mental instability, and familial relationships with “Silver Linings Playbook.” If you haven’t seen this film, make sure you do because it marks the official arrival of Jennifer Lawrence as the young actress to best.
Russell doesn’t quite out-do himself with his latest Academy Award-nominated film, but still creates a gorgeous, entertaining piece of art with “American Hustle,” which stars his recent collaborators including Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, and Lawrence. Russell’s “keep it in the family” mentality with filmmaking recently has been extraordinarily effective in getting fantastic Oscar-worthy performances and presenting stories that can connect on a multigenerational level.
In “American Hustle” a con man, Irving Rosenfeld, and his sensual, fraudulent partner, Sydney Prosser, are forced to work with an unusual, comically aggressive FBI agent, Richie DeMaso, after getting caught collecting money from unsuspecting strangers who are trying to invest in false endeavors. DeMaso uses the team to take down a corrupt, yet charismatic politician, Carmine Polito. Unfortunately, this takedown team has bigger problems in the form of Rosenfeld’s wife, Rosalyn Rosenfeld, a woman who refuses to be brushed aside like a trophy wife.
If you see this film, see it with individuals who vary in age, because it’s a far more interesting experience. My father, for instance, couldn’t help but sing out loud some of the tunes in the film. In the moment I was embarrassed, but looking back I see a man who was thoroughly entertained by a film, a rare occurrence for him. Russell has that power over audiences. He creates environments that force audience to forget they are watching a movie. “American Hustle” does this in spades with the fantastic costume designs, perfectly composed score and soundtrack, and even the silly seventies hairstyles.
Russell’s film also will win audiences minds, souls, and hearts because it defies genre, a mainstay in any Russell film. This year it was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Comedy or Musical and won, but “American Hustle” is more than just comedy. There are dramatic elements, criminal behavior, and yes, laugh out loud comedic moments especially from Cooper and Louis C.K., who gives a great performance.
The film features a slow build, but the promise I guarantee is that the payoff is completely worth it in this journey with brilliant con men and women. Experience “American Hustle” and return to an era constructed by brilliant filmmaker who certainly will continue to deliver quality pictures.