Sorry for the length, but I didn't have time to write a short blog.

Monday, January 27, 2014

American Hustle, Indecision...

I finally went to see American Hustle.  It is now several hours later, and in all honesty I do not know what to think.  It is not particularly brilliant, but it is fascinating and easy to watch.  It is far from history although it wants to make you think it is with its loose association with ABSCAM. .  It is humorous and curious.  It is detailed and reminds me of a time I lived through.  I was in college when ABSCAM began according to the real history. It is a gritty and humorous depiction of the world of the con.  It has enough little twists to keep us going as we watch.

 It is well acted, although I thought Bradley Cooper's Oscar nominated performance was more than a little over-the-top. Jennifer Lawrence proves that she is a natural actor.  As Meryl Streep is nuanced and studied and layered in her performances, Lawrence is unabashed and blissfully seemingly unaware of her gift and her humorous timing as the ditsy wife is impeccable.  Amy Adams also does well in her roll as the sexy temptress, and so does Christian Bale as the consummate conman who the audience likes and sees clearly as a crook.  The comb-over is hysterical.  The rest of the cast from Louis C. K. to Jeremy Renner to the surprise appearance of Robert De Niro are all good.  Ensemble is important to the success of any film and American Hustle is well cast and has it in spades.

I worry when  a movie tries to purport itself as a history, that folks will think that it is.  While ABSCAM may have inspired some of the events that may have "actually happened," American Hustle is a long ways away from the actual scandal. Long enough that all the major characters are fictional.  This I suppose is why the movie works, it is very believable.  There are elements still in the various scenes of the "con" that I am not sure which parts were part of the con artists at work and which were part of the lives of the characters.  It makes for interesting consideration.

All in all, American Hustle is an interesting movie that I am pleased that I saw. It's Oscar nominations make sense. On a thematic level it is clear that the movie wants the audience to realize that we are all involved in the hustle, our own little cons.  It is not just conmen that hustle.  It is well constructed film making. It just that I am still though just not sure about the experience and I still need someone to explain the meaning of the ice fishing story to me.