David O. Russell has put together quite the resume with his December movies these last few years. He struck Oscar gold with both The Fighter (2010) and Silver Lining Playbook (2012). It’s no surprise then to see that he’s back again with another Oscar worthy hit. American Hustle is rated R for pervasive language, some sexual content and brief violence. Does it really live up to the high expectations?

American Hustle has an all-star cast, with four of the top actors having been in recent Russell works. Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence starred in last year’s Silver Lining Playbook while Christian Bale and Amy Adams starred in The Fighter. It’s clear that there was great chemistry on the set by the way the movie flowed. Bale’s portrayal of Irving Rosenfeld is amazing. As a charismatic balding overweight guy it’s hard to believe that a year ago he was running around saving Gotham City in a bat suit. Amy Adams’ radiance and eye popping wardrobe was the perfect Yin to Bale’s Yang. Bradley Cooper is very smooth and likable on the screen even with his hair in curlers. There’s nothing that can be said about Jennifer Lawrence that hasn’t already been said a thousand times. She brought all of the acting intensity that she possessed in Playbook and magnified it -if that’s even possible. She owned the screen during her scenes. Jeremy Renner gives a very believable performance as the Mayor of New Jersey who would do anything for the place and people he loves.

The wardrobe, music, hair and even the way people carried themselves made it feel as though you’ve stepped into a time machine and landed back in the late 70’s/early 80’s. The story is ever changing so you never really know which way is up. Because of this, time just flies by, leaving you wanting more. American Hustle is listed as a crime-drama but they should probably throw a comedy credit in there as well. There are quite a few funny parts that help add some lightheartedness to keep the movie from becoming too serious or stressful.

I don’t know how David O. Russell continues to get the best out of his actors, but whatever he’s doing, please don’t stop. I hope Jennifer Lawrence finds her way back under his direction soon because quite honestly that’s when she’s at her best. American Hustle should be on everyone’s list of movies to see. I dare you not to like this one. It is in theaters now, so what are you waiting for?!

Movie Reelist Contributor: Carl Wheeler

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