Directed by and co-written by David O. Russell ( The Fighter and Silver Linings Playbook) this film is a MUST SEE! It is in my top 5 for the year.
The movie is loosely based on the “Abscam Operation” in the late 70’s and early 80’s.
Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) is a con-artist. He meets Sydney Prosser ( Amy Adams). She is ambitious and they start doing bigger cons and fall in love. Sydney changes her name to “Lady Edith” and starts speaking with an English accent to help attract higher net worth suckers.
Unfortunately for them, they are caught by an FBI agent (Richie DiMaso-Bradley Cooper) and charged with wire fraud. He gives them a choice to either go to jail for a very long time or help catch bigger fish and remain free.
Further complicating matters, Irvine has a wife (Rosalyn-Jennifer Lawrence) and a 5 year old son. She is dependent and passive-aggressive. Richie can’t seem to leave her even though they make each other miserable.
Irving meets Carmine Polito (Jeremy Renner), the mayor of Camden New Jersey, who wants to put casinos in Atlantic City in order to re-vitalize N.J. He is willing to bend a few rules to make it happen. Irving and Jeremy become friends even though Irving must take Carmine down in order to stay out of jail.
Richie is very attracted to “Lady Edith” and she implies that the feelings are mutual but is she conning him too?
How will it all turn out?
The film is very funny but also has depth, touching on themes of ambition, greed, love, dependency, loyalty and betrayal, among others.
The movie is a blast and the ensemble cast couldn’t be better, (especially Lawrence, Adams, and Bale). It’s about 15 minutes too long but who cares?