American Hustle

★★★★★★★★☆☆
Certificate 15 128 minutes
Dir: David O. Russell Stars: Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence

First movie of 2014!

Christian Bale sports a beer gut and the most horrendous combover you could imagine in this 1970s era black comedy. It’s loosely based on an actual case, where the FBI forced a conman to entrap politicians into taking bribes from a “fake sheikh”. As the film says, “Some of this actually happened…”

Christian Bale plays the eponymous grifter. He’s unhappily married to inept single mother Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence – Brilliant characterisation & comic timing, but still looks far too young for these kinds of roles IMHO). Bale is forced to work for the feds when his partner in crime and love interest (Amy Adams with a delicious fake “British accent”, and styling herself Lady Edith) is herself entrapped by federal agent Bradley Cooper.

They embark on a scam to trap corrupt politicians so bizarre that it actually seems credible, even when the mob gets dragged in, in the shape of Robert De Niro, and there’s a feeling of barely suppressed madness throughout.

The four central characters almost form a strange dysfunctional family, but I couldn’t help feeling at times that this was a cast & crew reunion for last year’s Silver Linings Playbook (Cooper seems to be playing pretty much exactly the same character). I wonder if it will be as successful? 8/10