“American Hustle” is a story so well told by its superb cast that it should be considered one of the best films of the year.

Loosely based off of the “Abscam” scandal in the 1970’s which ended with the convictions of 7 members of congress, the film centers around con artist Irving Rosenfeld played by Christian Bale.  While the scandal is the premise and general focus of the story, the emphasis and brilliance comes from the personal stories of Rosenfeld, his wife played by Jennifer Lawrence, his mistress played by Amy Adams, and a FBI agent played by Bradley Cooper, all of whom are on par with Bale in performance. The moral ambiguity and difficult circumstance for each character is compelling, such that you genuinely root for them all despite their conflicting goals.

Louis C.K. plays a dry F.B.I. boss and provides almost the entire comedic material for the movie in his interactions with Bradley Cooper about a fishing story. It’s unexpected and works really well.

A sense of intensity is sustained throughout,  lacking predictable direction or character decisions. This intensity is sort of tapered off in the final scenes, however, which makes this not quite as satisfying as the bulk of the film. “American Hustle” hits home to the idea of living the American dream. It explores the intimacy of perception and deception within the social fabric and politics; it displays raw human culture and individualism at its finest, drawn from an incredible and unyielding cast.

9.1/10