This is life, good, bad and ugly in a polyester shell. The very first scene of this movie is perfectly fitting to the rest of the film. We watch the usually gorgeous Christian Bale as a fat, balding middle-aged hustler trying desperately to fix the comb-over that he wears, even adding hair to the conglomeration of hair art to make the bald spot less noticeable. In the end he comes out with an approximation of something that looks , not good , but not what it actually is which is , in a word, pathetic.
There is all the archetypes here, the Vamp played by Amy Adams, sexy and sweet but all hard edges too ( side bar Amy is almost 40 and WOW her body is amazing! not the Kabam of some starlets but just overall tight and toned, I’m almost 40 and I love seeing chicks my age that look great!) and a little too street smart to be the product of anything but hard learning. The con man is played by Christin Bale, likable and smarmy at the same time. The kind of guy you might buy a car from but when it goes south in three months you just think , ” I knew it!”. The mess. Ahhh… the mess. Jennifer Lawrence is in this role, and she is her usual all in self. The part required that she be just … awful for lack of a better word. She is whiny , passive aggressive , she is manipulative in every way . I think that when they thought of this character the writer said ” what are all the worse traits about women? OK, now lets put them in one charterer” . She gives over to it, does all the things that someone like this person would do, and I would have slapped her a few times if I was in this movie. Would have had to.
There is no clear-cut good guy in this. Jeremy Renner plays a politician that is a good guy. He is not the good guy but he is good, yes. Bradley Cooper, almost in a return to the type of character that he played in his earlier career ( Wedding Crashers comes to mind) that is outwardly correct , as an FBI agent and inwardly dark and twisted with over reaching ambition.
In the end of this movie you feel like, I would have felt like if I had paid my usual 10 bucks for a movie , that you got a good story. That is what the bottom line of a film should be. They start the movie off with old-fashioned looking studio insignia , like the movie was not only about the seventies but retrieved from that time. And in that same vein, the film does not rely on the things that many films do lately , special effects, a lot of noise and rocketing around in the name of action. If this film would have a movie opposite it would be ” The Fast and The Furious”. There is no flash to this movie. The people in this movie , usually beautiful are less so ( yes Amy and Jennifer look pretty but they also look human) and the casting is excellent. Christin is paunchy and bald, Bradley is in curlers, and Even the excellent cameo by a permanent A Lister has him looking 100 . But it all works because the movie is not about pretty , glossy people. It is about grit. If I was giving this movie a rating , which I guess I am , it would be 8 of 10. I would recommend this movie to anyone that likes a story. If you are like me, 80 % movie nerd also , I just like to point out the following ; Batman, Katniss, Nighthawk and Lois Lane . That is just kinda cool!
American Hustle (2013)
129 min – Crime | Drama – 18 December 2013 (USA)
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