First Hit: From the opening moment the audience knows it is going for a real ride.
This film opens with an overweight balding Christian Bale (playing Irving Rosenfeld) fixing his hair with a comb-over that beats all comb-overs. He is meticulous in every detail of his hair, style, and the scams he pulls on everyone to make his living.
His business partner is Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams) who is nothing short of a miracle on the screen. She’s smart, fire, and looking out for number 1. However, Irving is married to Rosalyn Rosenfeld (Jennifer Lawrence) who is a stay at home mom, controlling, sassy and a lush. Irving and Sydney get caught on one of their scams and the agent who busted them, Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper), wants to leverage their conning abilities to catch bigger fish – mainly Mayor Carmine Polito (Jeremy Renner).
Richie’s boss Stoddard Thorsen (Louis C.K.) doesn’t want to follow Richie’s outlandish plan to catch political crooks but gets outranked in his decisions. Some of these scenes of their disagreement are outstanding. Watching Bale, Lawrence, Adams and Cooper work together is amazing as each defines their character so clearly and fully that the story just jumps off the screen creating full engagement.
I love this type of film where the story is outrageous (loosely based on the real life Abscam scandal) and the acting is spot on dynamic and engaging.
Bale is sublime, he carries the character through the film with flowing subtle changes. Adams is divine. She is sexy, vulnerable, smart, bold and focused. Her character is so much fun to watch. Lawrence is absolutely amazing. She shows a great depth to transform herself through use of language and facial expressions that keep you focused on her when she is in the frame. Cooper is so much fun. He’s wild, bold, lacks subtlety yet he’s the one that moves the story along – amazing. Renner is transformed as Mayor Polito and as he always does, turns in a sterling performance. In a very small, yet pivotal role, Robert De Niro as mob boss Victor Tellegio is powerful. David O. Russell and Eric Singer wrote an amazing script which also reflected the 1970’s and the mood of the times. Russell did an amazing job of putting together the look and feel of this story. It was like he was leading a major orchestra and everyone was in perfect tune.
Overall: A full time fun film based in excellent acting.