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'American Hustle' is all about character

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POSTED: January 3, 2014 9:56 a.m.
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"American Hustle" has an all-star cast who seem to lose themselves in their characters.

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The new film, “American Hustle,” is in theaters now. I was conned into buying my ticket, but did the ’70s-flavored caper impress? Allow me to answer.
In “American Hustle,” former Batman star Christian Bale is con-artist Irving Rosenfeld. He’s heavy-set, he’s balding, and he’s ready to teach the FBI a thing or two about catching criminals.
Also, he doesn’t really have a choice in the matter. That’s because Bradley Cooper’s FBI agent character has Bale and his beguiling partner, acted by Amy Adams, dead to rights. It’s cooperation or its prison.
So, the unusual threesome set off to catch some dirty politicians. Sound familiar? It should, because the film is based on actual events.
Character. Character. Character. That’s what “American Hustle” is all about.
A script with ridiculously rich details, actors who completely disappear into their roles and makeup and costumes to die for — those things make “American Hustle” a lavish treasure.
And it’s no wonder. Director David O. Russell first caught my attention when he cast Mark Wahlberg and Bale in “The Fighter.” But I didn’t completely fall in love with his work until Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper delivered in “Silver Linings Playbook,” which has become my favorite recent romance, thank you very much.
Speaking of Lawrence, the 23-year-old actress is back in “American Hustle” in a very big way. She plays Bale’s deliciously damaged wife so well that as far as I’m concerned, you can hand her a second Oscar right now.
That’s right — I said wife, which means Amy Adams and Lawrence are in love with the same complex fella. Oh yeah, and Bradley Cooper has eyes for Adams, too. Yikes! (And Adams also does so well in this film that I can hardly stand it.)
This caper is dramatic, funny, suspenseful, smart, true to the time period and over-the-top, but completely lovable.
You know what that means — I’m a fan!

 

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