Con-men, Congressmen, FBI and the Mafia intersect in one of the best whos-conning-who comedies to hit the screen in a very long time. A Quentin Tarantino meets Woody Allen dialogue with on point timing, carries this film into award-winning possibilities. Its also a flawless time capsule – the 70’s have never been so accurately resurrected – even Deborah Harry and John Travolta would agree with me there.
Christian Bale secures his title as this generation’s king of character acting, gaining an unknown amount of weight and sporting the most hilarious faux, faux-hairpiece ever, to play a sleazy but shrewd conman with a heart of gold. Ironically he shares a few scenes with Robert De Niro, the previous generation’s king of character acting.
Amy Adams combines strawberry-lip-gloss and Ivory-soap innocence with razor-sharp street smarts as the Bale’s accomplice and mistress. She has a distinct allergy to bras and wears plunging-neckline Danskin dresses for any occasion.
Bradley Cooper buttons his shirts at the navel, sports gold chains and goes ape-shit comedy at every turn as the FBI agent whose ego and ambition work for and against him simultaneously. But I wont tell you how it works out for him.
Despite Bale, Adams and Cooper’s strong performances, the show stealer for me was Jennifer Lawrence as the cast-off, fragile wife whose propensity for causing problems then retro rationalizing made me laugh out loud every time.
American Hustle does not dethrone 12 Years A Slave as best film of 2013, for me, but it comes very, very close.