Reinventing: One word to describe this entire movie.
Synopsis: Based loosely on a true story, Irving Rosenfeld and Sydney Prosser are two very clever con artists. But when they get caught by FBI agent, Richie Dimaso, they agree to give up a couple of other white-collar criminals. Things get out of hand when Dimaso pushes to go after some of the biggest names in New Jersey…
I have never seen hair being over used to signify a hidden mask- I have never thought about it either. But it’s so glaringly obvious; girls (and guys) often straighten, curl, dye, gel their hair on a daily basis. We have all been guilty of this self-deception. Irving uses a wig to cover up hair loss and Richie and Sydney are curling their hair constantly. This tendency, especially with a dramatic change in hairstyle, usually comes from wanting a fresh start when just coming out of an unhealthy relationship or when you move places. Appearance is the most significant change we can make and wear on ourselves as we see our image all the time in the mirror. But there is a subtle difference discerned between change and hiding behind a mask:
We realise quickly that American Hustle is all about the pros and cons about pretending- about the world being your stage. It can be a good thing but mostly, time would just catch up with you, as observed closely in the film. Rosenfeld pretends to be the happy man in a loveless marriage that has an affair; Richie goes through the motions of being a highly respected FBI, all while living with his mum and a neglected fiancée; Prosser, the ultimate sham, who completely faked her identity. All three people running away from who they really are and in the end, it gets them into trouble, especially Irving, who gets tired of the façade and admits his doing to Mayor Carmine Polito.
There is one extremely striking scene, when Richie starts screaming violently on the phone with his supervisor in front of Sydney. But when Sydney tells him she’s not the person he thought she was, he says “stop freaking me out”. Fascinating that games with the mind is thought more scary than someone being physically hostile.
On the flip side of the coin, however, there is change- which is highly celebrated in the movie. Change isn’t self-deception any more; it polishes the internal system, getting rid of the bad- and sometimes good- that resides within a person. But in this flick, reinventing does wonders for the characters. Jennifer Lawrence‘s persona, Rosayln Rosenfeld, learns to let go of her past with the symbolic use of nail polish. Sydney and Irving change by adopting his son and living together. The only person that change didn’t serve, was Richie. Yet, there’s even an explanation for that. Everyone else was willing to reinvent, they had a goal of who they wanted to be; but he changed unconsciously with the people surrounding him. So now there are two types of reform: intentional and unintentional. It just gets more complicating.
The storyline was interesting. It is true though that most people who end up going after politicians, even if they do take them down, get burned one way or another. I guess there are always going to be certain people with power who get what they want, so if power corrupts everybody, doesn’t that mean, even if a good guy comes to power, he would still end up being corrupted? As with Carmine, he genuinely believed he was doing things for the greater good and it was sad to see someone so passionate-even for the wrong reasons- get into trouble. But maybe, because he was a good guy, they shortened his punishment, generally symbolising the good guys don’t always lose. Greatly. This was very similar to The Wolf Of Wall Street, in the sense, that they used manipulation and deception to get what they want. But instead of deceiving the mass population, they conned politicians. These guys are power brokers.
There are few things about the movie I didn’t quite get. I noticed that there were a few scenes where the camera would focus in on the hand gestures for a split second. Not entirely sure what that’s supposed to mean, if it means anything at all. And was it supposed to be taking place in the 80s? Also, the ice fishing story, it kept recurring throughout the picture. So…what was the ending? They lived happily ever after? They got ice burn? If you guys figured it out, please let me know 🙂
Primarily, an amazing flick designed to show the difference between change and deceit to survive life in the long run. You as a person gets to decide whether you want to pretend to reinvent yourself- or actually do it and American Hustle brought that question out in the light for the audience. No wonder it has been nominated for the Oscar awards.
Verdict: 7 of 10 kicks