Out for rental this week is the most nominated film from the 86th Academy Awards. “American Hustle” is a comedy about greed, corruption, scandal, and the ever-lasting pursuit of the American dream.

 

Directed by David O. Russell, “American Hustle” concerns a couple of hustlers as they try to cheat the system in order to get by. When caught red-handed by the FBI, they are brought in to help go after much bigger hustlers, such as politicians and the mob.

 

With an ensemble cast including Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, and Jeremy Renner, this is a wild, rambunctious crime film that establishes its extremely frenetic pace from the first frame and sustains it throughout the film.

 

Russell’s directorial style pays direct homage to Martin Scorsese in “Goodfellas.” Long tracking shots and quick camera movements are accompanied by the characters speaking directly to the audience through voiceover. The influence is undeniable, and with a lesser talent in the director’s chair this Scorsese-esque execution would have sputtered and died. Russell somehow manages to pull off emulating one of the best filmmakers working today.

 

The cast is largely made up of actors who have worked with Russell in the past, with the only newcomer being Renner. There is an obvious chemistry that this director has with his cast, as he manages to pull incredible performances out of each and everyone of them.

 

“American Hustle” was nominated in all four acting categories at this years Oscars and deservingly so. This script required the actors to be both comedic and dramatic, and for the most part, they do a good job of pulling it off.

 

In terms of dialogue and character, the screenplay is rather impressive. The only real problem is that it loses track of itself a bit when the film becomes too consumed with its own plot. Russell and his co-writer Eric Warren Singer should have kept this as a character study rather than a plot driven heist film because it falls apart a little bit at the end when all sorts of stuff begins to happen.

 

Still, this is an enjoyable flick. If you are a fan of Scorsese you may be annoyed by the near plagiarization happening on screen, but if you missed it in theaters you should consider giving “American Hustle” a look.

 

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Have you seen “American Hustle?” What did you think? Let me know in the comments below.