American Hustle Is One of the Best Movies of the Year

Believe the buzz and go see American Hustle, a movie that will surely be in serious contention for all the big awards this season. It's written and directed by David O. Russell, who is fast becoming one of the most amazing filmmakers of our generation, proving that his prior motion pictures (The Fighter, Silver Linings Playbook) were no flukes. Who knew that the creator of that low-budget comedy Spanking the Monkey would end up making such solid works of cinema, full of captivating plotlines and interesting characters?

American Hustle takes place at the end of the 1970s, and at first seems to be a spoof of the era with the ridiculous hair and clothes that have become a caricature of the time.  Such suspicions are quickly trashed as the story unfolds and the audience begins to love and hate the people on the screen. This is more than a simple tale about con-artists, it's an examination on the powers of persuasion, a look at the fine line between politics that works and politics that's corrupt, and at its heart it's also a riff on gangster movies.

The acting is the highlight, and don't be surprised if we see a sweep of wins in a multitude of awards categories.  Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Jennifer Lawrence, Louis C.K., Elisabeth Rohm, and many others in the cast all shine. Even an uncredited cameo in the role of mobster Victor Tellegio is so perfect that it merits some Oscar recognition. The script allows the actors to chew the scenery and lose themselves in accents, wigs, and flashy period costumes.  What more could any thespian want?

Go see it on the big screen and let's hope the Academy voters recognize what a fun cinematic experience American Hustle is and show it the love it deserves.

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