American hustle brings us 1970’s perms and events so outlandish one could rationally assume they’d only exist in a Hollywood movie; the opening message that ‘some of this actually happened’ suggests otherwise.
David O. Russell’s crime comedy quickly establishes the workings of the con-trick, and the viewer is soon plunged into a world of ambiguous character motivations and inevitable double crosses. It helps that the film is weighted by spectacular performances from Christian Bale, Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence in particular – the latter two having won Golden Globes for their respective parts, while all three plus Bradley Cooper have received Academy Award nominations.
While Bale specifically put on 40 pounds for the part of unfaithful potbelly Irving Rosenfield, the standout performance lies with his neurotic wife Rosalyn. Jennifer Lawrence is effortlessly electric in the part; her encounter with Rosenfield’s paramour (Amy Adams, channelling a convincing English accent) is emotionally raw and sexually charged.
Ultimately these lead performances elevate American Hustle, making it a compelling watch and a serious contender this awards season.