Monday, February 10, 2014

do the hustle

"Sometimes all you have in life are poisonous fucked up choices."

- Rosalyn Rosenfeld

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i was really looking forward to seeing American Hustle in theaters.  i saw just a bit of the trailer, saw the cast and thought, this seems like a great movie.  i wanted to understand why the title was American Hustle and why there was so much talk around it.  the plot was pretty interesting.

set in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the story is about a brilliant con man, Irving Rosenfeld, played by Christian Bale, and his equally cunning and seductive partner, Sydney Prosser, who got forced into working for a wild FBI agent Richie DiMaso to set up an elaborate sting operation on corrupt politicians, including the mayor of Camden, New Jersey, who was portrayed very candidly and convincingly by Jeremy Renner. 

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i would just like to say how bloody brilliant Christian Bale is, as he once again transforms himself into becoming Irving Rosenfeld.  an actor with that much dedication to transform his physical features in order to get into character and be that character,  is outstanding.  i am at a lost for words, simply in awe.  he was conflicted, he wanted to be honest, he wanted to keep his adopted son, he loved Sydney and wanted to go away with her but he had no choice and you could feel that in every scene he is in. every time he took out his pills for his heart, you felt for him.  and i still cannot get over that belly.

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Bradley Cooper, on the other hand, succeeded in annoying me.   you know he wants to get up high in the ladder pretty fast and it is so annoying to the point of manipulation.  you give in just to shut him up.  you know he's trying to do a get out in the field and call the shots but it's just hard, so hard, to take someone seriously when you know he's still living with his mother and getting his hair permed. 

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that Irving's unpredictable and ditsy legal wife Rosalyn, (Jennifer Lawrence) and his strategic paramour Sydney (Amy Adams) face off in the ladies' room only to end in a steamy kiss was just really, fascinating.  that left me speechless.  you can see how strong Sydney's character is, as opposed to Rosalyn, who served as an anchor in Irving's life, pulling him down instead of just letting him go.  Rosalyn was one of those characters who think they mean well but because of their stupidity, okay, naivete, cause more harm than good.

i liked it the movie because con artists are admirable for being so smart until you are the one being conned.  if only they could use all that intelligence for something that benefited a great number of people, not just themselves.  i felt for Jeremy Renner's character.  he simply wanted to do good for his constituents:  provide more jobs, make their lives better.  but because of the ambition of an annoying FBI agent who permed his hair and lived with his mom, the mayor who only means well gets caught up in a scandal that crushes everything he worked for in his community.  that sucks.

did i like the movie?  would i recommend it to people?  yes.  and yes.  it's a great movie but i'm not sure everyone will like it as much as i did, or get it as much as they want you to  know the story.  if you're only seeing it because the cast had big hair (except for Bale who had a comb over and a big belly) and really flashy clothes, stay at home.  but if you want to see it because you want to understand why it was so scandalous in the US during those times, go.  it will be interesting.