Mega Fan vs Giant Cynic: American Hustle

This week Rhian Hunter and Ritwik Sarkar give their opinions on the polarizing American Hustle

8th February 2016

MEGA FAN: Ritwik Sarkar

In an era of resurgent gold teeth and Grey Goose, success is achieved with compelling ambitions and some good old-fashioned hustle. American Hustle in itself, is a more modern take on the tiring adage of the ‘American Dream’, where hard work and diligence pale in comparison to charisma and deceit. The movie seems to blur the moral lines of good and bad, by showing how the greatest plot, life, is experienced through shades of grey.
The stellar cast exemplifies this to perfection. Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence engage the viewers to a point of empathy, even though their intentions are never quite clear. Christian Bale, undergoing another of his famed physical transformations, delivers a very believable character portrayal as a serial con man.
While the plot is haphazardly structured, and the script not so tight, the sheer acting caliber and character chemistry makes American Hustle an old-fashioned, new school hit.

GIANT CYNIC: Rhian Hunter

Admittedly, I didn’t hate the film, but it’s been one that has had left conflicted – I’ve re-watched it, but I just can’t decide whether it’s great, or really bad. Some of the scenes are just superfluous, like conman Irving’s (Christian Bale) elaborate combover routine. It’s just that little bit too long, and the characters motives often become so confused that it’s hard to follow the plot. I know that’s the nature of the con – we never quite know who’s on whose side – but it can detract from some of the better aspects of the film. For example the brilliant costume and set designs, which perfectly capture the ‘70s setting. The performances from Bale, Jennifer Lawrence, Amy Adams and Bradley Cooper are pretty decent too. But I just don’t think they’re enough to save it. It’s clunky, and feels like a classic case of style over substance – and while the style is good, like I said, it’s just not enough. It’s just not great.

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