‘American Hustle’
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Residents of Rohnert Park, have I got a film for you! 

The Graton casino recently opened and we weren’t that impressed so now you have a chance to spend quality time at the movie theater and watch what I predict will win Best Picture at this year’s Oscar ceremony. 

  “American Hustle” is a film that will stay in your mind for years to come.               

In “The Fighter” and “Silver Linings Playbook,” David O. Russell hit a bracing groove in which his stamp as a director injected distinctive rawness and emotional vitality into what in other hands might have been merely conventional movies.

He continues on that roll of refreshing character-driven storytelling with this outrageously entertaining film, a twisty con-job chronicle that combines heightened dramatic stakes with playful humor. 

Written by Eric Warren Singer and Russell, the film is a fictionalized account of the Abscam scandal, an East Coast FBI sting operation that went down in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s.

It resulted in a number of public officials being convicted on corruption charges, including several congressman and high-level political operatives.                                                                                                   

 There’s a lot of great hair in this film but none more transfixing than the carefully sculpted comb-over worn by Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale), which we watch him construct in a process involving glue. 

That hilarious opening sequence also establishes the walking paradox of paunchy Irving, whose personal style seems at odds with a breezy confidence that allows him to scam just about anyone. 

It’s precisely that quality that attracts Sydney (Amy Adams), a knockout former stripper from New Mexico, who likes to pass herself as Lady Edith, a Brit with London banking connections.  

 That alias comes in handy as the lovers lure unsuspecting investors such as Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper), an ambitious Fed. 

 He coerces Sydney and Irving into helping him nail some heavyweight white collar targets, promising that four significant arrests will clear their slate.                                                              Sydney wants to flee the country, but Irving remains too tied to his messed-up manipulative wife Rosalyn  (Jennifer Lawrence), whose son from a previous relationship he has adopted. 

   When Sydney informs Irv that she intends to get close to Richie for insurance, she is acting out of jealousy as much as self-protection.                                                                                                                                                              

   Sporting a ridiculous home perm, Cooper has never been funnier or more manic. 

Motor-mouth Richie’s anxiousness to avoid being trapped behind a desk leads him to all kinds of unwise decisions, making him as shady as Irv or maybe more so. 

   As for the ladies, Adams is sensational in rare bad-girl mode. Poured into costume designer Michael Wilkinson’s deep-plunge disco gowns, wrapped in a skimpy macramé swimsuit or a ton of fur, she has the looks and the innate savvy of an operator more than capable of stringing along two men while keeping us guessing about her ultimate intentions.  

The film’s stealth weapon, however, is Lawrence. 

 Hot off “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” she steals every scene in her limited screen time. Whether blowing up a microwave oven or lip-synching to “Live and Let Die” while furiously doing some housekeeping, Rosalyn is dangerously off-kilter but also shrewd; she’s both kitten and tigress. 

 Her ladies-room confrontation with Sydney is among the film’s high points.                                  

The music is amazing. Danny Elfman’s cool connective score follows the lead of the Duke Ellington number “Jeep’s Blues.” 

 Adams and Lawrence both won Golden Globes last Sunday for their work in this film. Don’t be surprised if they win Oscars too. 

 Do not miss this film!

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