American Hustle DVD Review

Film Review by Jon E Clist
American Hustle

The Premise
A fictional film set in the alluring world of one of the most stunning scandals to rock our nation, American Hustle tells the story of brilliant con man Irving Rosenfeld (Bale), who along with his equally cunning and seductive British partner Sydney Prosser (Adams) is forced to work for a wild FBI agent Richie DiMaso (Cooper). DiMaso pushes them into a world of Jersey powerbrokers and mafia that's as dangerous as it is enchanting. Jeremy Renner is Carmine Polito, the passionate, volatile, New Jersey political operator caught between the con-artists and Feds. Irving's unpredictable wife Rosalyn (Lawrence) could be the one to pull the thread that brings the entire world crashing down.
The Review
Ten Oscar nominations for American Hustle kind of gives you some hints that people might be enjoying it. Of course if you then pop across to Rotten Tomatoes you'll see that it is also sitting on a 93% from the critics. That is certainly a pretty impressive resume for a film. So I guess you kind of can't help but head into this film with relatively high expectations. Lucky for me I got given some good advice going into it. It is a bit me a slow burner however the whole seventies feel is brilliant and is a highly entertaining component to the film.

First up let me say that this film has been cast perfectly! Director David O. Russell wrote the characters of Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams Jeremy Renner, Jennifer Lawrence, Louis C.K. and Robert De Niro expressly for each of the actors to play them. Christian Bale was cast in the lead role but due to scheduling conflicts he dropped out and was replaced by Bradley Cooper with Jeremy Renner taking over Cooper's old role. After Bale's schedule cleared up he rejoined the project in the same role while Cooper reverted to playing the FBI agent and David O. Russell wrote the character of Carmine Polito for Renner. So you get the feeling that Russell has high regard for this collection of actors.

It was certainly a great move to wait for Christian Bale to become available again as he is spectacular in the main role of Irving Rosenfeld. We have seen in many of his previous roles that Bale tends to immerse himself into his characters with an extreme passion. In fact he achieved the physical traits of his character by gaining over 40 pounds, getting a comb-over and slouching his posture and ended up herniating two of his disks in the process. I read that Robert De Niro didn't recognize Christian Bale on the set even after they were introduced to each other. De Niro pulled the director aside, pointed to Bale and asked who he was. First De Niro didn't believe it was Bale but after Russell convinced him of that De Niro noted, 'Wow, he looks really different", and nodded his head as a sign of approval. Russell then had to re-introduce the two now that De Niro knew who Bale was.

This is a film that heavily weighted to the characters, each one of them brings their own uniqueness to the ensemble that in turn adds up to a greater valued outcome. As great as the plot actually is, according to Christian Bale much of the movie was improvised. So, during the shooting of the film he noted to David O. Russell, "You realize that this is going to change the plot greatly down track." To which the director replied, "Christian, I hate plots. I am all about characters, that's it..

An example of this playing out in the film can be seen in the fight scene that takes place in the bedroom between Christian Bale and Jennifer Lawrence, which was completely improvised. A version of it had been written in the script, but the actors were struggling to connect with it, so director David O. Russell ultimately decided to allow them to say what they wanted. A genius move by director Russell to let what plays out… play out. Magic to watch all the crazy pieces move around the board. As I mentioned earlier, each one of the cast is brilliant and brings a weird flavour to the story. Lawrence plays the semi-empty-headed housewife to brilliance, while Adams floats effortless across the screen as the bogus English hustler. Then of course you have Cooper as the 'coke-snorting blinded-by-ambition' FBI agent, whose tight permed curls are not wound tight enough to stop him from unravelling.

The Verdict
A cleverly written seventies comedy drama guaranteed to bring laughs with it’s delicate plot twists and over the top characters.
The Trailer
The Info
DVD Releases: 22nd May 2014
Rating: M - Contains offensive language
Duration: 138 minutes
Genre:  Genre
Starring: Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper. Jeremy Renner & Jennifer Lawrence.
Director: David O Russell (Silver Linings Playbook, Three Kings)
RRP: DVD $39.99 Blu-Ray $44.99
The Extras
Filming of this movie was delayed after the terrorist bombing of the Boston Marathon. Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner, Christian Bale and Amy Adams went to hospitals in the greater Boston area to visit with victims of the attack.
David O. Russell developed and expanded the role of Rosalyn specifically for Jennifer Lawrence, who drew inspiration as well as the accent for the character from watching The Real Housewives of New Jersey (2009)