American Hustle (2013)

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Released 16-Apr-2014

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Featurette-Making Of
Trailer-x 3 for other films
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2013
Running Time 132:18
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By David O. Russell
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Christian Bale
Amy Adams
Jennifer Lawrence
Bradley Cooper
Louis C.K.
Jeremy Renner
Elizabeth Rohn
Jack Huston
Case ?
RPI ? Music Danny Elfman


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (256Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     The Blu-ray version of American Hustle has already been reviewed on this site by MikeB here. That review contains a plot summary which I will not repeat here.

     American Hustle, co-written and directed by David O. Russell (whose Silver Linings Playbook (2012) also featured Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence), is an interesting and entertaining film although I am not as enamoured as Mike and some critics as I found the voiceovers by various characters, and some of the dialogue, a bit too contrived and trying to be to witty to be convincing. However, a great reason for watching the film is the acting and the killer soundtrack. An almost unrecognisable Christian Bale as conman Irving Rosenfeld is fabulous: he is overweight, with a hairpiece that is almost a character in its own right, and about as far away from his heroic and slim Batman persona as it is possible to get. Amy Adams as fellow con artist Sydney Prosser is equally good; she is calculating, sexy and vulnerable, and the looks she gives to Irving’s wife Rosalyn (an also excellent Jennifer Lawrence) at a function are absolutely priceless. The score by Danny Elfman is augmented by some classic popular music including tunes by America, Steely Dan, Chicago, ELO, Santana, Tod Rundgren and Wings, with Donna Summer, The Bee Gees, Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald tossed in for good measure.

     The snappy dialogue, the quirky characters, good performances, the sense of place and some of the camera moves identify American Hustle as a David O. Russell film and fans will not be disappointed. American Hustle was nominated for 10 Oscars but came away empty handed. The film is certainly well made and entertaining although some viewers may wonder what the fuss was all about.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     American Hustle is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, the original theatrical ratio, and is 16x9 enhanced.

     The print is nicely detailed. Other than some exteriors, club and restaurant scenes that are bright most of American Hustle has a dark, subdued colour palate, with browns, greys and muted yellows dominating. The film also looks quite grainy, which is probably deliberate to give a period feel. Blacks are solid, shadow detail very good, brightness and contrast consistent.

     The print evinced occasional ghosting with movement, aliasing on the hounds tooth and check jackets and some shimmer with the end titles. Marks are absent.

     White English subtitles for the hearing impaired are available.

     The layer change was not noticeable.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     Audio is English Dolby Digital 5.1 at 448 Kbps, plus an English Dolby Digital 2.0 track at 256 Kbps for the vision impaired, utilising a male voice.

     This was a film that uses snatches of dialogue but even so some other lines were hard to hear so the subtitles came in handy. American Hustle does not require an immersive audio track as it is dialogue centred; however the surrounds were used appropriately for music, especially the Donna Summer number, and crowd noise. The sub-woofer mainly supported the music, which was all that was needed.

    I did not notice any lip synchronisation problems.

     The original score by Danny Elfman plus the range of popular music including by America, Steely Dan, Chicago, ELO, Santana, Tod Rundgren, Wings, Donna Summer, The Bee Gees, David Bowie, Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald was very effective and supported the visuals well.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    These extras are available on the local Blu-ray release which, however, added 22 minutes of deleted scenes which are not on this DVD version.

Trailers

     On start-up there were trailers for Inside Llewyn Davis (1:50), Mandela Long Walk to Freedom (2:19) and Secrets & Lies (1:31). These trailers cannot be selected from the menu.

The Making of American Hustle (15:55)

    This featurette consists of on set footage, scenes from the film and interviews. Co-writer / director David O. Russell has the most to say but there are also contributions from three of the producers, the production designer, costume designer and cast members Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper and Jeremy Renner. The focus of the featurette is upon the characters and the director, with some comments about the costumes and period design. Worth watching once.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     All the reviews I can find of American Hustle are of the Blu-ray, which is the same in all regions. I cannot say if the overseas releases of the DVD also miss out on the deleted scenes, but I suspect they may.

Summary

     The snappy dialogue, the quirky characters, good performances, the sense of place and some of the camera moves identify American Hustle as a David O. Russell film. Fans will not be disappointed but while the film is well made and entertaining it is hardly inventive or ground breaking and some, like the Academy voters, may enjoy the film but wonder what the fuss was all about.

     The video is dark but acceptable, the audio is fine. The extra is worth watching, although the deleted scenes on the local release of the Blu-ray are missing.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Thursday, June 12, 2014
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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