Does American Hustle deserve 10 Oscars?

American Hustle is nominated for 10 Oscars. If you have this information it becomes impossible to watch the film without preoccupation. Thus when I went to see it at the packed Press screening at Berlinale my expectations were literally sky high.

The story is pretty tricky. When Irving (Christian Bale) meets Sydney (Amy Adams) they immediately hit it off. The couple begins promising loans to desperate businessmen and charging a fee for their efforts. However they do not have the connections they promise and thus the entire business is a complete scam. However everyone is happy until the FBI gets a hold of them and turns them in order to avoid prison. All they have to do is give the FBI 10 even bigger and more corrupt fish and they can walk.

Of course doing this isn’t as easy as it first seems and being the con artists that they are, they soon get lost in the tumultuous game they are caught up in. Does Irving really love Sydney or is he actually still in love with his wife (Jennifer Lawrence)? Does Sydney truly fall for FBI agent Richie (Bradley Cooper) or is that just a game? Is Mayor Polito corrupt or just playing the game?

Everything in this film is to be questioned and it’s fabulously so. The viewer is as equally confused as the characters and thus aligns with them and their wrongdoings, weird egos and aims. Some new information or twist pours out every five seconds, so there’s never really time to catch up properly and let the information all sink in. It’s a high intensity crime, corruption, politics, love, business thriller that really knows how to entertain.

The actors are amazing (apart from Amy Adams, who I thought overacted a little, but I might eat my words when she holds that little golden statue in a bit), the costumes, make-up, stage design was incredible and the camera work and editing were precisely what this story needed.

I think I’ll have to watch it a second time to fully grasp it, but it was certainly one of my Berlinale Highlights!

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