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Last year, David O. Russell made an Alexander Payne like movie with "Silver Linings Playbook", this year he made a Martin Scorsese like movie with "American Hustle". And with that I'm not saying he's ripping off certain styles or people with his movies but more that he easily adapts to various different styles and genres, which is always the sign of a great director.

The directing is just one of the many great aspects about this movie. The writing and acting are the two other obvious ones but there basically are a variety of things throughout this movie that help to make it such a great, effective and entertaining one to watch.

There is always something going on in this movie. It doesn't slow down for anything or anything but despite that, the movie still manages to feature some well developed and fleshed out characters and drama in it. Yes, this foremost still is a drama and crime movie but not one that's 'too' heavy to watch, due to a more light- and at times comical approach to things.

I can still see why some people might not like this movie. It isn't always necessarily a movie with a clear narrative in it. Sometimes the movie feels like it consist out of a bunch of different side-plots thrown together and not like one that's following a clear main storyline, with also an obvious beginning, middle and end in it. I totally get why some people might not like this and why they call this movie an unfocused and unbalanced one. The style of storytelling however suited this particular movie very well in my opinion. It's a pretty absurd and complicated story, that so easily could have been told in a very dry, straightforward but convoluted way. However David O. Russell's way of storytelling ensures that things can develop more freely and therefore as something more entertaining and convincing as well. You feel that you get all of the characters and know what they are all about and coming, without knowing that much about their actual background. It's therefore also real easy to like all of the characters and get behind them, even though basically all of them are some very flawed human beings, who are also doing some absolutely despicable things throughout the movie.

Basically all movies about con artists are fun to watch. It's all due to it that they are usually some very charismatic persons and you just can't help but admiring the creativity and effort that often is put in their cons. Besides, no people ever get hurt in the precess...except in their wallets. This movie is no different. It's fun to see how cons unravel and of course often go wrong- and not exactly according to plan as well. It provides the movie with both some tense and surprising moments that will caught you off guard. It also creates some great dynamics between all of the different characters, who all have different agendas.

And the acting is also a reason why everything works out so well within the movie. The acting is great, all across the board. Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Jennifer Lawrence, they all give some very solid performances, that will win them some awards, no doubt.

It further more is a great period piece, which also is one of the reasons why it works out as such a fun one. It's poking fun at things but without ever ridiculing anything or became a parody of the 1970's. It isn't just a great period piece with its set design, costumes and makeup and hair but with its soundtrack as well. Again, the type of soundtrack Scorsese himself would have gladly picked and used for any of his period pieces.

A great movie but don't feel weird if you don't like it. It isn't just for everyone and it will either click with you or it won't, just like the other David O. Russell movie "Silver Linings Playbook" didn't quite clicked with me, last year.

8/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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