(Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Jennifer Lawrence, et al / NR / 138 mins)
Overview: Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, and Amy Adams star in director David O. Russell's fictional period crime drama about a reckless FBI agent who recruits a con man and his alluring British partner into a scheme to gain the upper hand over other talented swindlers.
Verdict: 'American Hustle' is the best time I’ve had at the movies all year, a movie so perfectly executed, such wall-to-wall fun, so filled with the joy of expert filmmaking on every level I can’t imagine anyone who loves movies not loving this movie.
We’re told, “Some of this actually happened” at the outset, and somehow that seems more honest than the usual “based on a true story,” or “inspired by actual events.”
In the late 1970s, the FBI really did enlist the services of a con man from the Bronx to lead an undercover operation called Abscam that included the creation of a fictitious Arab sheikh named Abdul and resulted in the conviction of six congressman and a United States senator, among others.
That’s the foundation for 'American Hustle,' but director David O. Russell is telling us from the start we’re going to take off on a flight of fancy. The hustle is on from start to finish, and at times I felt like the mark in a magic act — but it’s the kind of high-level magic act where you’re delighted to learn you just got played.
Russell and his 'Silver Linings Playbook' stars Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence went right back to work together on 'American Hustle,' which also features a couple of choice cameos from other 'Silver Linings' cast members. They should make 10 more movies together!!