American Hustle

So then, my first new film of 2014. Happy New Year everyone!

After The Fighter and Silver Linings Playbook, I’d watch a school play were it directed by Russell. They were both fantastic. So taking members of both casts, adding in a few more stars, and giving them all outrageously fantastic hair is a recipe for success. Or is it?

Much like the hair, American Hustle is entertaining and occasionally highly amusing and well worked. Each cast member is as good as you’d expect. They’re funny, dramatic and occasionally over the top.

But it seems to go on forever! Watching the second Hobbit film passed faster, and that is a good 30 minutes longer. Maybe Russell was trying to make a point about excess. Regardless, it is highly indulgent and could have been much leaner, and better for it.

Though based on a real life story – the ABSCAM operations of the late 70’s and 80’s – there are clearly many liberties taken with facts and characters. There isn’t really a single good person in the story, but I found myself supporting Bale’s Irving Rosenfield. He may be bent, but he is the sensible one who doesn’t want to get involved with the mob, and is the nearest we get to delving into whether or not the FBI’s actions were all that well intentioned. A closer inspection of that facet of the story may have yielded better results.

With all the hoopla and hyperbole surrounding the follow up to Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle is a let-down. The individual pieces are great, with some great dialogue and interaction. It just doesn’t know when to stop and is ultimately less than the sum of its parts.

One last thing. From now on Microwaves will be known as ‘Science ovens’.

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