Film pick: American Hustle (M18)

Film pick: American Hustle (M18)
(L-R) Actor Christian Bale, Film Director David O. Russell, Actors Amy Adams, Jennifer Lawrence, Jeremy Renner, and Bradley Cooper

Celebrated director David O. Russell goes back to familiar terrain - the realm of the foolish dreamer, the loser in the gutter with his eyes on the stars.

Con artist Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) and partner in crime Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams, both right) are making money running a fake loan scheme when they con the wrong person, Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper), an undercover FBI agent.

DiMaso ropes Rosenfeld and Prosser into a sting operation to trap crooked politicians, including Carmine Polito (Jeremy Renner), the mayor of Camden, New Jersey.

The film opens with Rosenfeld (a paunchy, almost unrecognisably lumpy Bale) fussing with the complex mechanics of his comb-over hairdo. The sight is at once sad, desperate, delusional and funny - in other words, classic David O. Russell, a director who, in recent times, has established a reputation for dragging the same group of actors (Bale and Cooper) into the Academy Awards theatre with him with alarming regularity.

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