DVD review: American Hustle

DVD review: American Hustle.
DVD review: American Hustle.

DVD review: American Hustle

(Roadshow Entertainment, M)

If you are one of those who judges a film on the basis of the number of Academy Awards it garners, you would be inclined to consider American Hustle one of the competition's greatest losers.

Ten nominations and no wins. That has to mean something, right? No.

Awards don't really mean anything. A film stands and falls on its own merits and the glittery, red carpet sideshows often have very little reflection on how good a movie actually is.

In 1991 Dances With Wolves beat the superior Goodfellas for the Best Picture Oscar. And four years later in the same competition the great Pulp Fiction was passed over in favour of the awful Forrest Gump.

Of course, I have a predilection for crime thrillers, so naturally I would say that.

It's all subjectivity folks.

There are no hard and fast rules or guidelines that dictate which film is "better" than any other, or whether one film is more worthy of your viewing time than any other. It all comes down to your personal preferences and tastes.

Which is why I can unreservedly say on the record that American Hustle is a much superior film to 12 Years a Slave, which got the Best Picture nod in the most recent competition. I can state that categorically on the simple basis that it's a crime story, and I really like those.

Slick, stylish, very well acted and thrilling, American Hustle is testament to the prowess of its leading players and the abilities of director David O Russell (The Silver Linings Playbook, Three Kings). Here he has created a Scorsese-style film that would surely rank among the best of that director's prolific output.

As career con artist Irving Rosenfeld, Christian Bale heads a great cast. The one-time Batman is unrecognisable with an unbecoming paunch and comb-over. He is matched by the chameleonic Jennifer Lawrence as Irving's unhinged, vindictive ex-wife and the Amy Adams in sassy-yet-vulnerable form as his seductive partner-in-crime.

It's a twisting tale of players getting played in the hedonistic 1970s. Evil gangsters, corrupt politicians, even more corrupt FBI agents - this is great material. If your preference is for black comedies and crime thrillers, American Hustle will be the best film you see this week. If your thing is for romantic comedies and historic dramas, American Hustle will still be the best film you see this week.

Because that's how it works. You can trust me on this. I wouldn't lie to you.