Based around actual events, David O. Russell's American Hustle tells the story of con man Irving Rosenfeld, who along with his partner and lover, Sydney Prosser, are forced to work with wild FBI agent Richie Dimaso. After arresting Sydney on one of the teams typical loan scams, Dimaso pushes them to help him bring down bigger fish in order to advance his career. When the stakes begin to escalate, including a deal with Politicians and the Mafia, Irving and Sydney find themselves in over their head looking to find a way out. David O Russell's American Hustle is a fast-paced incredibly enjoyable film that cares more about entertaining its audience than dissecting the various themes and ideas sprinkled throughout the film. The film is loaded with interesting characters, all of which are dynamic and convincing, thanks to a host of great performances but the film never has enough time to truly capture most of them. You do feel for the characters but American Hustle could have gone deeper in exploring this high stakes game of con or be conned, a few instances notwithstanding. I wish the film also explored its themes a little more, the grayness of right vs. wrong, working class vs. privileged, etc. but I can't fault O. Russell too much for wanting to keep the film breezy. This is a very funny and enjoyable film but I did think that some of the comedic elements inadvertently hurt some of the more tense moments of the film, stripping them of some of their impact. That being said, the energy and freewheeling style of American Hustle is impressive and I would go as far as to say that this is David O. Russell's most accomplished film from a direction standpoint. Some of the decisions O. Russell makes reminded me of a mix of Scorsese and Paul Thomas Anderson, with style that perfectly fits the tone of the film. David O. Russell's American Hustle is a film that's a thoroughly enjoyable experience that features many great performances but their were some missed opportunities throughout that keeps it from being a truly great film.
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