American Hustle

Director: David O’Russell

Nominated: Best Picture; Best Actor; Best Supporting Actor; Best Actress; Best Supporting Actress; Costume Design; Director; Editing; Production Design; Best Original Screenplay

David O’Russell seems able to pull performances out of his cast that earn them all nominations across the acting categories; he did it last year with Silver Linings Playbook (2013) and he’s done it again. And they are all performances worthy of a nomination.

American HustleAmy Adams adopts a pretty flawless English upper class accent as her alter ego Lady Edith and switches effortlessly between the two within the same sentence on occasion. She effectively becomes the narrator of the piece, setting up the story and introducing the key players. She says of Christian Bale’s character, Irving Rosenfeld, “He wasn’t necessarily in good shape and he had this comb over that was rather elaborate. He had this air about him. And he had this confidence that drew me to him” which perfectly sums him up. There was a charisma to Irving that drew you to him despite being, well let’s just say less than is usually considered, attractive. It gave Bale’s performance an intriguing quality that kept you fixated on him throughout.

Bradley Cooper is a self-assured, cocky, ambitious FBI Agent in American Hustle who becomes more manic and unhinged as the tempo of the film increases. It’s the complete opposite of his performance in Silver Linings Playbook last year but equally as compelling to watch. I always find it interesting watching characters unravel and implode which Cooper’s Richie Di Maso does quite impressively.

For me the one who impressed me the most, but then she always does, was Jennifer Lawrence as Irving’s loose cannon of a wife, Rosalyn. She is fabulous! Every time I watch her in something she seems to up the bar be it in an Oscar nominated film, like American Hustle, Silver Linings Playbook or Winter’s Bone (2010, Debra Granik) or a huge franchise film like The Hunger Games (2012, Gary Ross) or X-Men First Class (2011, Matthew Vaughn). And she’s only just started her career! She’s definitely my pick for Best Supporting Actress. I love the vulnerability she bought to Rosalyn, who by all accounts is a loud, brash character. She does things without thinking first making her the opposite of Irving who plans everything before embarking on any venture.

I always find costumes and production design more appealing in period pieces and there’s no denying that American Hustle is a period piece. It proudly screams 1970s with every fiber of it’s being. I particularly enjoyed Di Maso’s tight perm and the tiny rollers he used to keep it in tip-top condition. The 1970s seem to be one of the more ridiculous eras, certainly in terms of fashion, and American Hustle revels in it.

I really enjoyed American Hustle despite a number of my friends not having much to say for its good points. It has brilliant performances from the core characters as well as a cameo from Robert De Niro, as a Mob boss; wonderfully nostalgic costumes and settings, and an intriguing plot – what more could you ask for?

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