When you walk into a film that screams Oscar bait, your expectations are automatically shifted. Ask a critic and he or she can deny it until they die, but it’s hard to judge a film destined for Academy Award treatment in the same manner as others. If anything, one can be harder on these films because they are loaded with so much talent and ambition.
While imperfect and a little long winded, David O. Russell’s follow up to Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle, is a wildly funny look back at the Helter Skelter days of the 1970’s and how a great con could topple not just the law but organized crime as well. The moment the credits roll, the sound of the era and the looks swell your lenses and take you right back to that period of time where looks traveled farther than your words or integrity did. The film opens on a potbellied Bale arranging his elaborate hairpiece/comb-over special and it’s a sight that sets you up for the entire film. The confidence of Russell and his cast guide you through the more uneven and glossy parts of the film. (more…)