Without question, David O. Russell has really come into his own the last few years with hits like, The Fighter and Silver Linings Playbook. He is once again back in the awards and highly acclaimed films list with his latest effort, American Hustle. His style has really developed a unique way with these films as opposed to some of his early work. With a concentration on character development he has produced more award nominations for his actors than any director in the last 5-6 years. This may lead some to call him an actors director, but I believe he is just letting great actors do what they do best.
American Hustle is loosely based on the true story of the long running FBI sting operation in the late 70’s and early 80’s known as ABSCAM. When a highly skilled con man (Christian Bale) is trapped by an ambitious FBI agent (Bradley Cooper), the FBI agent, Richie, enlists the con man, Irving and his British accomplice, Sydney (Amy Adams) to help him trap high profile politicians and white collar criminals. As they attempt to take down a New Jersey mayor (Jeremy Renner) things begin to take many different turns and seemingly spiral out of control for all parties involved.
With a reuniting of casts from The Fighter and Silver Linings Playbook, David O. Russell shows that he has a core of actors that he works best with, which include his version of Scorsese’s De Niro with Christian Bale. While it’s no doubt that Christian Bale is one of the best and most, on fire actor in Hollywood, his best work has undoubtedly come in Davis O. Russell’s films. Bradley Cooper again shows his chops off with another stellar performance and Russell may bring another statue in Jennifer Lawrence near future despite her limited screen time.
There isn’t too much wrong with the film, it brings great performances and they execution of the story line is well produced but it clearly is Russell’s best. That isn’t to say it’s a bad movie by any means. The trouble is that it will be compared to The Fighter and Silver Linings. This one just doesn’t measure up the same as those. But as always the acting and character, development is great. Bale is outstanding as is most of the other main principles. My biggest problem with acting, unfortunately was Amy Adams, whose in and out british accent I found almost annoying.
My negative thoughts should not suggest that it’s not a great film or that it isn’t worthy of it’s accolades. I am at fault of being of those who expect so much out of Russell. I hate when people judge film makers on their previous films, but I just can’t help myself since he had such stellar films his last two and I loved the premise of this film so much I regrettably went in expecting so much more. Thats not to ay I didn’t enjoy myself or like the film, I just expected more. Im none the less in love with the casts that Russell puts together and will watch whatever he puts together with these actors.