American Hustle

Director: David O. Russell
Year Released: 2013
Rating: 3.0

Two con artists (Christian Bale and Amy Adams) get caught by the FBI (led by agent Bradley Cooper) and turned into informants in order to arrest several high-end politicians (including a New Jersey mayor, played by Jeremy Renner) for bribery and corruption. Russell based this (very loosely) on the ABSCAM operation run in the late '70s, and adds some love triangle dynamics to the narrative - though successful (if moderately slapdash) as storytelling, there is a smug air about it that keeps it from being extraordinary - Russell does tend to get a tad too cute with his own material and the influence of Scorsese looms huge - and the third act 'twist' is nothing more than a weak slap directed towards the Bureau's questionable tactics (there is, apparently, honor among thieves). As with last year's Silver Linings Playbook, Russell is quite adept at putting together a watchable ensemble, granted one can overlook Bale's sporadically over-the-top antics.