I used to have a friend who was a stand-up comedian in Las Vegas, and I could not shake the feeling that the introductory sequence to this movie was a perfect image of his interior disposition. Christopher Nolan appears in the opening shots putting on gold pinky rings, putting on his incredibly ugly vest over his pot belly, and spending an inordinate amount of time working on a ridiculous and unconvincingly elaborate comb-over. It is, simply put, iconic and unforgettable - apart, naturally, from being hilarious.
It begins with a con artist combing his hardly-existent hair. Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale), proprietor of a chain of laundromats, runs loan schemes to make extra money on the side, conning those who need quick cash. At a party, he falls in love with a young lady, Sydney (Amy Adams), and they begin an affair. All goes smoothly as she steps into the role of a British heiress, Lady Edith, assisting in the cons. However, danger looms on two fronts: the Fed is closing in on Irving's schemes, with one agent in particular becoming highly interested in Irving's affairs (Bradley Cooper), and Irving's wife, Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence), begins to sniff out the mistress.
It is no wonder that this movie was nominated for multiple Academy Awards. Jennifer Lawrence, in particular, does a marvelous job as supporting actress. American Hustle is a great comedy, but an even greater piece of art in the broader sense of the term. It is not only funny, but touches some very deep and meaningful questions about human relationships, honesty, and love. It documents the downfall of those who seem to have good motives but instead use them to cloak foul ones, and the often buried good hearts of those who put on different faces because they are ashamed of their own. This is a "must see" as we lead up to the Oscars.
My Rating: 9 out of 10