“American Hustle”: ****
Yes, it’s a doubtful four stars – a tentative, deniable accolade. But there was lots to like about this movie…
It is great to have a comedy which makes you cringe and laugh from the outset and more or less throughout. I agreed with the man in front of me who was busy biting his knuckles whilst laughing at the opening comb-over. It was marvellous to have a movie with so many telling, peculiar, relationships sharply anatomised and enjoyed. Our main lovers; the politician’s family; the blonde wife’s affair with the minor Mafia figure; the FBI man and his mother.. all very fine and funny. And then there were constant shifts in perspective, as different characters projected different personae, on purpose or involuntarily – superbly done and completely to the point in a scam caper.
And everything tending toward moving the main event along: who was scamming who and – vitally – what would the final scam be revealed to be.
This was Nine Queens meets Burn After Reading meets Blue Jasmine meets Charade meets Boogie Nights (and of course nearly anything with Burt Reynolds) and even Charlie Wilson’s War, and it could stand the comparisons. I wish the movie were a little more securely anchored to a genre. Was it a caper? A scam movie? A rom-com? A piece of magic realism? A thriller?