Opening with the caveat that “some of this actually happened”, ‘American Hustle’ is a glorious and endlessly-entertaining mess of a film.
Based on the truish story of the FBI ensnaring bribe-hungry politicians and racketeering mobsters in 1970s America, it sees director David O Russell revisit the genre-surfing com-drama he perfected in ‘Silver Linings Playbook’.
Much of the cast of that award-winner return, including Jennifer Lawrence as an unhinged huckster’s wife and Chris Cooper as an equally manic FBI agent.
Meanwhile an impressively fattened-up Christian Bale plays the hustler forced into helping entrap Jeremy Renner’s corrupt mayor.
But it’s the luminescent Amy Adams who is at the heart of both the film and the love triangle that spices up the constant plot twists and oft-ludicrous contrivances.
Her performance is nothing short of stunning, smoothing the many jarring tonal shifts and caricatures surrounding her.
Her anchoring role is essential as Russell chucks everything at the screen, even finding space for a short musical segment.
He also adds eye-popping period outfits and levels of farce reminiscent of Brit movie maker Martin McDonagh.
That it works at all is remarkable; that it delivers a largely coherent and mainstream movie is something close to a miracle.