Cinematic Releases: American Hustle

This week we finally see the long awaited release of American Hustle

"So, how do they look?"
Director David O. Russell offers audiences one of the best crime dramas of 2013 with the nearly perfect American Hustle. The movie is a two hour cinematic excursion in to the 1970's criminal underbelly of political corruption, long cons, gangsters, and women that liked to flaunt their breasts.

While its not nearly as good as a Scorsese piece, his influence is definitely felt all over American Hustle. From cinematography to soundtrack, this is the closest anyone has come to replicating the distinct feel of Casino or tones of Goodfellas without ever introducing gratuitous violence or a constant string of "F" bombs.

To call the film a masterpiece would be misguided and a possible misrepresentation of what Russell has accomplished with American Hustle. But to call it a great film would be a minor understatement. American Hustle is engaging and highly entertaining, but most of all its a piece of escapist cinema that takes you back to the 70's in every little detail. The costume design is phenomenal as the soundtrack will make you think you're ready to snort some blow before you head out to the disco.

"There's one bullet in here. It's got
Todd Phillips name on it. It's what
he gets for the Hangover III!"
American Hustle not only relies on a director with distinct vision, but is a representation of what today's best actors can do when pushed to their dramatic limits. Bradley Cooper, Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Jennifer Lawrence and Jeremy Renner are all on point. Each of them leave behind all traces of their former films and become formative stars with this movie. Don't get me wrong. They've all been great in the past, but American Hustle finally pushes all of them in to new territory befitting five of the best actors of our generation.

The true standouts of the film are Adams and Lawrence. Each of them vanquish their franchise roles and truly push the boundaries of what we've seen them do in the past. Adams character is sexually charged and manipulative. Lawrence, in a role eerily reminiscent of Sharon Stone in Casino, is easy on the eyes but emotionally volatile, grating and highly annoying. Both leading ladies lead the charge of making this one of the strongest dramatic entries of 2013.

"Where's the trigger?
Where's the trigger?"
In the first half hour, the film was a little worrisome. It felt uneven and unfocused. But once it gets moving, you won't want to take your eyes off the screen. Russell offers up a focused film that captures an era with vivid attention to every detail while presenting a layered story about trust, friendship, and the seedy world of con men. If you're a fan of crime dramas, I'm convinced you'll love this movie. This is one you do not want to miss in the theaters.

-Review by Chris George