I enjoy David. O Russell especially after he stopped being such an angry white man. Russell acknowledges that behind the scenes of his success as writer and director, his terrible temper and a divorce led him through the ‘wilderness’ to reemerge more Zen with the brilliance of The Fighter which like American Hustle, also stars Christian Bale (who won the Academy Award for his performance). So it with this understanding that I ran to see American Hustle and was pleasantly surprised. Much like Silver Lining’s Playbook and all of Russell’s films really, Hustle is an ethnographic voyage into an ethical swamp among a collection of rich and unusual personalities. Like The Fighter, Hustle is based on—albeit loosely—a real incident with the FBI where a known con-artist was instrumental in conducting a sting on New Jersey politicians. The film stars Bale, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence (both from Silver Lining’s) and Amy Adams. It offers a kind of off-beat narrative exploring greed and deceit, but a great many of those who you would assume to be “greedy” and “deceitful” don’t give you the full satisfaction. To paraphrase Bale’s character, Irving Rosenfeld, “the world isn’t black and white. It’s extremely grey.” This is the premise with which the major action in the film unfolds. Amy Adams is increasingly brave in the characters she takes on and the way she portrays them—usually smart and increasingly bold. Sarah Lawrence continues to pose a gregarious, funny, quirky and beautiful presence, though I look forward to her aging. Bale, ah Bale, he does his lovely thing—now you see him, now you don’t! Jeremy Renner was the good guy (for once!). And Bradley Cooper is growing on me, though his typecast ‘beautiful loser’ story is beginning to bore me a bit. Was I hustled? : No. Was I entertained? : Yes. Did I figure out the point of the movie? : Maybe it’s about America and too many dicks in the room (or a love letter to Goodfellas).