Viewed – 02 May 2014 Blu-ray
Kind of a blind purchase this one. I won’t automatically leap to watch a movie based on it’s awards or nominations or general buzz … been there before and came away disappointed (The Life Of Pie, anyone?). Yet with a cast consisting of Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner – it seemed an invitation very hard to turn down.
Bale is professional con man Irving Rosenfeld, who along with girlfriend Sydney Prosser (Adams) go about scamming art dealers, accountants and pretty much anyone else to make a lot of money. Business is good until FBI agent Richi DiMaso (Cooper) busts them and offers them a deal – whether go to jail, or have them use their expertise at conning people to help him nail a group of corrupt politicians.
The late 70s setting, the costumes and the atmosphere, all set the tone for an energetic, detailed and very absorbing tale of cons, relationships and who is back stabbing who. Bale, an actor I’ve felt was starting to get a bit old news these days, is superb in the lead role, sporting what appears to be a very good Robert DeNiro impression (hopefully intended), which is fitting considering this has the pace, the feel (and the narration) of a Martin Scorsese picture. The cast all get a chance to shine, especially Cooper’s over-eager, charismatic FBI agent … and Adams’ dangerously-sexy Sydney really marks her out as one of the best (and hottest) actresses’ around. For a hustle movie, despite initial fears I was never left confused as to what was going on, loved every bit of the plan and every comical development … it just all sucked me in like a perfect hustle might, but at least didn’t leave me feeling conned by the end. No, this was quality filmmaking, with a great cast, a superb soundtrack (Donna Summers’ I Feel Love, Wings’ Live & Let Die…) and genuine name-making direction from the mostly underrated David O Russell.
Verdict: 5 /5