Review: American Hustle Makes Corruption Seem Sweet

Bradley Cooper and Christian Bale in American Hustle Photograph by Francois Duhamel/Columbia Pictures via Everett Collection

American Hustle opens in movie theaters across the country today with an extended scene of a very bald Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) doing his “hair”—painstakingly combining an elaborate comb-over with hairspray, glue, and a toupee to create the illusion of having a full head. He looks ridiculous, but there’s something charmingly aspirational about the effort. Much has been said about the hairdos and garish Seventies outfits in David O. Russell’s delirious new film, but all those comb-overs and curls and polyester suits and shiny dresses mean something to these characters. They wear their style the way they wear their duplicity, with a belief that it’ll make their lives better.

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