I have this philosophy I like to bring up to people, especially whenever there is a conversation about selfless acts. I believe, or it is my idea, rather, that there are no selfless acts. At the very core of committing a “selfless act” for another person/community/subject is an intrinsic feeling of self-worth. The knowledge that you did something good for someone else and that made you happy. Happiness was your payout. There are no selfless acts because people do not do things to actively destroy themselves. Humanity’s main motive is self interest.
I kept thinking about that while watching “American Hustle“. All of the characters, even if their motives were pure and philanthropic, did what they did because they liked the feeling of doing what they did – whether it was good or bad. Irving Rosenfeld (
Batman Christian Bale) wanted control of his life and to never be taken advantage of like he father had been. Richie DiMasso (Bradly Cooper) wanted the acclaim of taking down corrupt politicians even if it meant making politicians corrupt. Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams) wanted to build a new life that she found fulfilling even if it meant being someone else. Rosalyn Rosenfeld ( Katniss Jennifer Lawrence) wanted to be loved because she never felt she was good enough. And lastly, Carmine Polito (Jeremy Renner) wanted to act in the best interest of his state. The main action of “American Hustle” is watching all of them work towards their respective individual end games.
The plot line of “American Hustle” isn’t that complex. Irving, a con man with a series of fronts, meets Sydney, a woman looking to create a new life for herself in the city, and they begin working a con together which leads them to fall in love.
Irving loves Sydney but doesn’t want to leave Rosalyn,
because he adopted her kid and feels morally obligated to her. Eventually they pick up enough heat where Richie catches them via a sting and utilizes (blackmails) them for his own interests.
While in the midst of Richie’s game, Richie and Sydney develop a thing
(which Sydney initially does to piss Irving off) and that plays out while they all are working their big con/fraud/uncovering of Carmine Polito, who just wants to build casinos in Atlantic City so people can get back to work. And then the end, well, watch the damn movie yourself to see what happens.
Watching this flick has been a week-long adventure for me. I got it Tuesday when it released digitally on the PlayStation store but didn’t try to watch it until Wednesday night (I got busy with something I can’t remember. Probably writing something for this). I turn it on Wednesday night and I fall asleep. I never fall asleep watching movies. Never. I’m the dude that will ridicule other people for falling asleep during a flick (Why? I don’t know. I’m a dick that way). Thursday roles around and I spend the majority of my morning working on schoolwork (I did an analysis of a play) and pass out about 1:30 p.m. I wake up Thursday night and try to watch the flick again (early Friday morning) – but I pass out again! Finally I turned it on when I woke up and sat and watched it (although I did pause it a bunch to work on other things).
The problem I had with this movie (which I really did like – I’m a fan of David O. Russell and loved his adaptation of Silver Linings Playbook) is that it was so saturated in the media that I expected it to be the best thing that I ever saw. It was entertaining. But it wasn’t anything revolutionary. The acting was great, but there isn’t a scene that I can fall back to being outrageously memorable (J.Law and AA kiss excluded).
The movie currently has a 90 out of 100 from critics samples via meta-critic. I don’t disagree with it (although at a time I remember that being as high as a 96 – which I thought was off). This is a fun flick to watch. It is enjoyable and something you can see over and over again. It’s even something you can fall asleep to.