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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

"American Hustle", the Big Empty

American Hustle

How many times I have written this before? Hype, the problem is the hype. You can have a flamboyant cast, the coolest aesthetics, a thousand nominations and all the favourable praise... but do you have a movie, one with substance, one that endures after the final vanish? I'm afraid not. "American Hustle" is a well-designed, extremely well in what regards to looks, entertainment product, but not a film that deserves to be remembered.

The other word that comes to my mind with "American Hustle" is fake. David O. Rusell wanted to have it all. Professional grifters caught by the police, who want to use them to catch a "bigger fish", so here's a thriller aiming to be the next "The Sting" (but loosely based on a real case, the ABSCAM operation)? Check. A tale about late 1970s -early 1980s, so every single scene must say something about how people dressed and behaved then?. Check. An eccentric comedy, with husbands, wives and mothers, all full of obsessions (again the looks)? Check.. Some sexual tension between the main characters, so we can add something else to the betrayal's game? Sure, check. A bit about corruption, but including an honest man? Check. Some dances? Check. And even Robert de Niro doing the mob impersonation once again, so you can proudly show what you are aiming for? Check, check, check. I know you already know what I'm going to write about: too much. Obviously, and that make the movie hard to believe.

"Silver Linings Playbook" was less pretentious, and to my view, although far from being memorable, it worked better as a whole. Primarily, because there was space for the characters to develop their roles, so Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence had the chance of showing their acting talents throughout the film. But in "American Hustle" the stunning cast doesn't have the chance. Lawrence's role as the vulgar and explosive Rosalyn Rosenfeld is just a need of the script (pretty weak imo) and a resource for funny scenes. Cooper as the cop Richie DiMaso and Christian Bale as Irving Rosenfeld do as much as they can with the material provided, but they are supposed to be suffering hell in one scene to be making fun in the next. Hard to believe. Amy Adams as Sydney Prosser might have the most interesting role... I can't see why does she need to be showing her cleavage in every single scene, but I'm certain she makes the film get going.    

I won't spoil the film for you, don't worry, but being a movie about scams, there's a gigantic one, and then THE TRICK. Couldn't buy it sorry, and wasn't that interested on the process to achieve it. Same goes about the finale, seriously lame. I concede that it could be just me. Entertaining? Yes. With some charm and some sort of originality? Agreed too. But not much aside from that. Seriously overhyped.

SCORE: 5/10

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