The Movie: 8.5/10
Characters convinced that the only way to get through this life is to scam, cheat, manipulate, and hustle other people. I think they might be right but we don’t all plan elaborate heist type scams and hustles to get what we want. We emotionally blackmail and charm our marks day-to-day to mold life into the shape we need. The characters in American Hustle just do it on a bigger scale. From the small personal manipulations in their relationships all the way up to being part of a FBI sting, our leading ladies and men weave a very complex web. That being said, it’s still pretty basic. People feeling the need to survive in their lives by using the art of the con. Trickery and lies and taking what they want by farming the desperation from their targets.
Our leading man, crazy comb over and all, plays on the greed of others by scamming them in a fake loan scheme. Our leading ladies, one who needs to find a partner to get what she wants, and one who also needs a partner to get what she wants. They just happen to want different things. A wife who wants security and stability, a mistress who wants…well….everything else. It is a bit wobbly to realize that the women in this movie might be strong and have big characters, but they are also 100% dependant on either the sexual attraction, kindness, or desperation of men to get what they want. I’ll give this story a pass since it’s set in a time when that made more sense, the 70’s. To take advantage of a man is one thing, but to depend on one for your needs, to stay attached like a leech, that’s something else all together.
The cast is amazing. Oh, didn’t you already know that? Of course you did. The music is awesome. The costumes and sets are my childhood on 70’s crack cocaine with a hint of fantasy wrapped in reality. The characters are all interesting in their ways, with the dark and good coming through from time to time…well, not always much good, but it’s there if you look hard enough.
I love stories that don’t flinch at the weaknesses, real weaknesses of humans. Our leading man is not what we consider socially attractive, he’s got confidence so long as he constructs his sweep over and wardrobe just right so he feels that boost to truly charm and con people straight to their face. His subtle weakness is his need for approval, love of a woman, to feel accepted. The women are different but the same, they both have a lot of fear about being in the world along, broke, needing. Everyone is interesting.
Overall I would say American Hustle is one of the best movies I’ve seen in a while. It’s satisfying, thought-provoking, and entertaining. What more can you ask for?
- The Making Of American Hustle – A 16 minute look at the making of the film. Director David O Russell discusses the incredible detail he put into the story and costume/set design.
- Deleted & Extended Scenes – A bunch of deleted scenes including a full version of the infamous “Live & Let Die Sequence”.
- DVD & UV Digital Copy
Cover Art and Menus: 5/10
I wouldn’t have the cover as a poster. It’s kind of blah to me. I know it captures the characters and the vibe of the era, but it’s just people in a row. The menu is just a menu.
Audio & Video: 9/10
If you are looking for a crisp highly detailed lavish looking film in High Definition Sony have you covered with American Hustle on Blu-Ray. This pristine looking 1080P AVC encode brings the film to life and is as razor-sharp as Blu-Ray has ever been. Color is natural and subdued given the period setting and black levels are stunningly presented. This is a top-notch transfer that Sony should be proud of.
The 5.1 Loss less soundtrack also excels, using the DTS-Master Audio 5.1 track to full effect. Any scene in the film that features music such as the Disco and Live & Let Die scene really bring the room to life, with surround versions of the songs specially mixed for the movie. Spoken word (which makes up for 90 percent of the film, I like to call it a verbal heist) comes through clear and centered and nothing is lost in the soundmix. American hustle might not have won any Oscars but if there were awards for high-definition presentation Sony would win hands down.
Overall Score 8.5/10