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American Hustle (2013)

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A con man, Irving Rosenfeld, along with his seductive partner Sydney Prosser, is forced to work for a wild F.B.I. Agent, Richie DiMaso, who pushes them into a world of Jersey powerbrokers and the Mafia.

Director:

David O. Russell
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Popularity
673 ( 143)
Nominated for 10 Oscars. Another 71 wins & 213 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Christian Bale ... Irving Rosenfeld
Bradley Cooper ... Richie DiMaso
Amy Adams ... Sydney Prosser
Jeremy Renner ... Mayor Carmine Polito
Jennifer Lawrence ... Rosalyn Rosenfeld
Louis C.K. ... Stoddard Thorsen
Jack Huston ... Pete Musane
Michael Peña ... Paco Hernandez / Sheik Abdullah
Shea Whigham ... Carl Elway
Alessandro Nivola ... Anthony Amado
Elisabeth Röhm ... Dolly Polito (as Elisabeth Rohm)
Paul Herman ... Alfonse Simone
Saïd Taghmaoui ... Irv's Sheik Plant (as Said Taghmaoui)
Matthew Russell Matthew Russell ... Dominic Polito
Thomas Matthews ... Francis Polito
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Storyline

A fictional film set in the alluring world of one of the most stunning scandals to rock our nation, American Hustle tells the story of brilliant con man Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale), who along with his equally cunning and seductive British partner Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams) is forced to work for a wild FBI agent Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper). DiMaso pushes them into a world of Jersey powerbrokers and mafia that's as dangerous as it is enchanting. Jeremy Renner is Carmine Polito, the passionate, volatile, New Jersey political operator caught between the con-artists and Feds. Irving's unpredictable wife Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence) could be the one to pull the thread that brings the entire world crashing down. Written by Sony Pictures Entertainment

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Everyone Hustles To Survive

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for pervasive language, some sexual content and brief violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Arabic

Release Date:

20 December 2013 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

American Bullshit See more »

Filming Locations:

Boston, Massachusetts, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$40,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$740,455, 15 December 2013

Gross USA:

$150,117,807

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$251,171,807
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color | Black and White (surveillance footage)

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The opening hair combover and hairpiece gluing sequence was not in the early script, but was an idea of lead hairstylist Kathrine Gordon. David O. Russell liked the idea that it was incorporated later into the script. Gordon and Christian Bale rehearsed several days before filming the scene. See more »

Goofs

During the first confrontation between Rosenfield and DiMaso before they meet the mayor, the briefcase of money behind them is open. When DiMaso goes over to it, he clicks open the catches. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Richie DiMaso: What are you doing, going behind my back? Telling people I'm screwing up this operation? I got you a suite at the fucking Plaza Hotel.
Irving Rosenfeld: The shittiest suite at the Plaza Hotel.
See more »

Crazy Credits

An opening title card states, "Some of this actually happened." See more »

Alternate Versions

The leaked Academy Awards DVDSCR had the following differences.
  • A line of alternate dialogue in a voice over.
  • A few digitally altered shots.
  • The scene where Irving and his wife arguing has been trimmed.
  • The scene immediately following that scene with Irving in the car is shorter as well.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Kickin' It: Seaford Hustle (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

I Feel Love
Written by Pete Bellotte (as Peter Bellotte), Giorgio Moroder & Donna Summer
Performed by Donna Summer
Courtesy of The Island Def Jam Music Group
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

Hustle, Hustle, Hustle.
12 December 2013 | by zpctSee all my reviews

American Hustle is built as the 2013 revival of classic Scorsese gangster pictures like Goodfellas and Casino, but without the gangsters. It has the plot twists, the plethora of pop tunes, the conniving characters, the backstabbings, the high life, the low life, the disgruntled females merciless attached to crooked husbands, the stranded children, and so on. But it's new. Fresh out of the oven. Baked with wonderful performances and tight scriptwriting. And it has characters who inhabit the story and make it their own.

The movie begins in medias res, with two con men -- and one con lady -- attempting to buy out a Jersey mayor. There's a lovely opening shot of Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale, almost unrecognisable) carefully and painstakingly combing over his thinning strands of hair. This scene reminded me very much of the opening of Richard Linklater's Bernie, where a plump but serene mortician played by Jack Black joyfully lectures a scarce hall of students on the process of embalming. It's a slow scene, maybe too slow to open up a movie, but we are never bored, because we are given insight to a skill that we've never seen before, or don't know much about. It's the same with this scene. I've never seen anyone cover up bald. It's always bald being uncovered; wigs and toupees accidentally being ripped off, or blown away by strong winds. The scene also informs us that Irving is a certain kind of character.

After jumping to a series of flashbacks, in which the history between Irving and his long-time girlfriend Sydney (Amy Adams, almost unrecognisable without her makeup) is revealed to have blossomed over a shared love of Duke Ellington, the plot begins proper. Irving and Sydney -- now posing as a wealthy British banker named Edith -- have been arrested by Richie (Bradley Cooper, fully recognisable despite his hairdo), an ambitious FBI agent who thinks he has the wit and skill to take down corrupt congressmen and casino gangsters with flimsy, ill-conceived plans. He ropes Irving and Sydney into his little schemes, and soon has them taking on an entire network of illegal tradesmen.

Caught in the middle are two people: Mayor Carmine Polito (Jeremy Renner), and Irving's wife Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence). Carmine is the mayor whom the trio wanted to con at the start of the movie. He becomes integral to the plot when Irving develops a friendship with him. Do I tell him that I've been conning him all along, and that my innocent little scheme might get him arrested in front of his wife and six children? Or do I stay quiet, maintain the friendship, and face my conscience alone? What he does, I will not say.

Rosalyn is an interesting character. Yes, she skirts dangerously close to the Sharon Stones and Lorraine Braccos of the old Scorsese pictures, but Jennifer Lawrence is able to lift her away from them by being more grounded. Stone always seemed to operate on her own terms in Casino. She was a third wheel, functioning outside of the overall story. Here, Rosalyn is fully aware of the situation at hand. She's right smack in the middle of the story. She doesn't love Irving. Irving doesn't love her. But they both love their son, and Rosalyn doesn't want a divorce tarnishing her solid family marital integrity. But she knows that the love festering in the household is only producing toxic fumes. Where her character goes is a place best kept hidden.

And then there's a mix of other secondary characters, including perhaps the best cameo I've seen (not because of the cameo itself, but because of the meaning of the cameo). All of them dip in and out of this intelligent story with impact. Why, even Richie's boss, Stoddard Thorsen (Louis C.K.), is a lovely guy. He provides much of the movie's humour, and there is much of it. Director David O. Russell has said that his goal with American Hustle was to focus on the characters instead of the plot. Indeed, what a good decision. It's a rare moment when not a single character seems out of place. They complement each other, whether they're kissing, punching, clawing, or scratching. And they share so much chemistry that you could select any two of them at random, chuck them into an empty room, and watch them chatter till their throats went dry.

I attended a screening of this movie in Mandurah, which is a lovely place. The cinema had maybe nine other patrons (weird, considering it was opening day). I'd been to Mandurah a few times before, and I watched The Counselor there. That was a poor movie, but the screening was smooth, which is more than I can say for the screening of this film. With about 15 minutes to go, the video jammed and stuttered slowly to a halt. It's the first time I've seen digital video jam. And it couldn't have happened at a worse time. The projectionist eventually rectified the problem, but I had already been sucked out of the moment. That's a pity, because American Hustle was shaping up to be one of the best movies of the year. You know what? Screw it. It still is.


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