American Hustle: David O. Russell Does it Again

I’m not sure why I’m only getting around to writing this review now, but I figured I’d write something about American HustleAmerican Hustle, released in 2013, is David O. Russell’s latest endeavor. His last two movies, Silver Linings Playbook and The Fighter happen to be two of my favorite films. Russell’s movies take you on great adventures that remain grounded in reality. American Hustle features a wide range of actors, most of whom are returning from Russell’s last two movies. It features Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Jennifer Lawrence, and Robert DeNiro.

I must say, going into this movie, I had very high expectations. My love for Russell and literally every single one of the cast members (save maybe Jeremy Renner) made me enter the movie expecting it to live up to Russell’s last two movies. And, even after having seen it a second time, I can easily say that all of my hopes and desires were met and then some. American Hustle excelled in so many aspects. The writing was amazing, the directing was amazing (can’t say I’m surprised), and the acting was top notch.

The writing of American Hustle is very different from the writing of other movies Russell has made. While it is still very much grounded in reality, his other movies (particularly his last two) were grounded to the point of grittiness. American Hustle really brings you to a whole new world. Now it’s possible that that’s because I cannot relate to the the time period the movie is set in, but regardless, the story is for sure more far out than the other movies. However, where the writing really excels is in that no matter how far fetched situations shown in the movie seem, the characters are still unbelievably real and easy to relate to.

David O. Russell’s work as director is truly amazing with this movie. This is a very difficult concept to pull off. The story has so many twists and turns, and only a talented director could navigate the viewers through the intricate story without losing them. I want to say more about the directing, because it was really is amazing, but I don’t to give away anything about the movie, so I will refrain from doing so. Just know that Russell lives up to his high standards.

The writing and directing of American Hustle really are amazing, but what really makes the movie stand out is the acting in it. I don’t even know where to start with this section of the review. I guess I’ll start with the acting that stood out to me the most: Christian Bale (if you’re familiar with his work, this should not be a big surprise). What can one say about the brilliance Christian Bale puts into his acting. First of all I have to mention his physical appearance. Bale went from being incredibly muscular in The Dark Knight Rises in 2012 to being slightly skinny for Out of the Furnace in 2013, only to put on over 40 lbs for his 2013 role in American Hustle! That’s absolutely mental! In the movie, he has a fairly large gut. But Bale’s physical appearance, as amazing as it was, was little match for his acting. I have said this many times to everyone I know, but when Christian Bale plays a role, he really lives the part. Sometimes when watching a movie with a famous actor in it, it’s very hard to not see them as that famous guy, and rather to see them as their character in the movie. Bale is a total exception to this role. He is really one of the most brilliant actors ever. The rest of the acting was also amazing. Bale is a near impossible act to follow, but the rest of the cast does a fantastic job with it. Jennifer Lawrence really showcases her acting range in this movie, as does Bradley Cooper. Amy Adams plays a similar role as usual, but she is almost always amazing. A performance I was surprised by was Jeremy Renner’s. I’ve only seen him in The Hurt Locker (which I did not really like), The Avengers (ugh), and The Bourne Legacy (ughhhhh. How to ruin a franchise 101),  and his performances left much to be desired. His role in this movie made up for it though. He was so likable I find it hard to hold a grudge for him.
All in all, American Hustle is a movie that is for sure worth seeing. It is an extremely smart movie that will (or should) keep you entertained to the very end. The movie is incredibly well pulled off (between the acting, writing, directing, and costumes). If you have yet to see it, add it to your list! If you don’t have a list, make one and add American Hustle to it!

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