American Hustle - 4K Blu-ray Review

Michael Scott

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American Hustle


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Movie: :4stars:
4K Video: :4.5stars:
Video: :5stars:
Audio: :4.5stars:
Extras: :2stars:
Final Score: :4stars:




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Movie

It’s always weird going back through my history of reviews and realizing I missed one back in the day. Especially when it’s a fairly heavy hitting films like American Hustle was back in 2013. Stacked with an all star ensemble cast (including a cameo by Robert de Niro) it hit all the right notes in regards to casting, semi-true story, and tons of double crosses to pull in over 10 academy award nominations and Jennifer Lawrence actually grabbing a best supporting actress win. Yet somehow I managed to NEVER see it. Not in theaters, not in my review process for home theater, and even though I OWN the Blu-ray, I had never actually watched the film until now. Needless to say, It was like I was watching the film with the eyes a younger man, watching some of the biggest stars of the early 2010s pull off a very solid heist/gangster flick over a decade later.

As the opening title scrawl clues you in, American Hustle is pretty much a complete work of fiction despite being based ROUGHLY on the Abscam scandal back in the late 1970s. Unlike most films which try to hint and manipulate the viewer into believing that it’s mimicking a legit story, American Hustle forgoes the typical “based off a true story” angle and tells you right up front “yeah, we’re not really sticking to the facts here. It’s just a story”. Our story starts with overweight con man Irving Rosenfeld (a chubby Christian Bale) finding his true partner (and mistress) in the form of Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams). Much like every romance story, the two fall in love, start a whirlwind romance, and decided to open up a loan agency that’s entire purpose is scamming people out of thousands of dollars. American dream, amirite?

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Well, things go sideways when Sydney (who creates a British alias known as Edith) and Irving get pinched by the feds for fraud and are both looking at jail time. To keep them out of jail, Irving agrees to help the FBI track down other high profile white collar criminals by allowing Irving and Sydney to con the con men and give them bankable info to put these guys away. However, things get nasty real quick when their next target is the Mayor of a small town in New Jersey needs an influx of cash to build a casino (played by Jeremy Renner with a hilarious pompadour) and hungry up and coming FBI Agent Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper) wants to use Irving and Sydney to take down not only the mayor, but the mob bosses who will fund said Casino in one fell swoop.

American Hustle is a well crafted crime thriller with a MASSIVELY stuffed cast that all simply steal the scenes they’re in. Christian Bale never disappoints as he vanishes into the role of New York shyster Iriving, and Amy Adams is utterly STUNNING as the seductive, yet determined, Sydney. Jennifer Lawrence is weird for me. I know she got a win for best supporting actress, but I felt she was not nearly as good as the other actors in the film (2013 was right in the middle of her “highest paid and most desired actress in Hollywood” time period). I get that you were SUPPOSED to be annoyed and loathe/pity her, but I just had a hard time really caring that much either way. Bradley Cooper is great as the ambitious, but morally flexible, FBI agent, and having Robert de Niro stor in for a brief cameo as a mobster was icing on the cake (nobody plays mobsters like de Niro).




Rating:

Not Rated by the MPAA




4K Video: :4.5stars: Video: :5stars:
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American Hustle was shot on 35mm film and given a GORGEOUS Blu-ray transfer back in the day, and now a great looking 4K UHD disc 10 years later. Unlike most of the Sony Steelbook 4K releases, this isn’t a film that Sony released on 4K with only HDR and is now re-releasing in Steelbook form with Dolby Vision enhancements. Instead this is a brand new 4K release skipping that initial 4K release and jumping straight into the Dolby Vision pool without any ado. The end result is a film that looks really impressive over the already perfect Blu-ray, with a wonderfully filmic look that preserves the original grain texture, with some really amazing minute visual upgrades. Fine details on clothing and background objects reveals much more, and I noticed the Dolby Vision really adds a richness and intensity to the gold and amber colors that the film is known for. Black levels are deep and inky without any sign of major banding (that night club scene with Richie and Sydney should have been artifacting galore, but looks pristine), and flesh tones exhibit a very lifelike and natural look. The disc suffers a bit with certain far away shots looking a BIT soft, but overall this is an amazing looking disc thanks to the native 4K master used for the source.








Audio: :4.5stars:
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Sony’s 5.1 DTS-HD MA track from the Blu-ray was always a great sounding mix (and is actually still included on the 4K UHD disc as an alternate track), but the change to an Atmos mix really broadens up the soundstage and fills things out a bit more. The music is remixed across all channels (vs. just replicating channels) and the dialog is crisp and cleanly locked in the center of the room. The bass is never overly punchy, but it still adds some solid accompaniment to the music and during a few high intensity arguments. There is plenty of subtle and well implemented ambient tones that like to bleed in from the overheads and rears, while really just “fine tuning” the excellent 5.1 DTS-HD MA track. While it won’t ever rival audio power houses like Dune, American Hustle offers enough nuances in the Atmos mix to satisfy just about anyone.







Extras: :2stars:
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Disc One - 4K UHD
• NEW: Nearly 15 Minutes of Additional Never-Before-Seen Deleted & Extended Scenes
• Theatrical Trailer

Disc Two - Blu-ray
• 11 Deleted and Extended Scenes
• The Making of American Hustle













Final Score: :4stars:


All in all, American Hustle was a load of fun. I came into the viewing completely virginal, and came out sort of disappointed I didn’t watch the film earlier. The 4K UHD is a VERY solid upgrade over the just about perfect Blu-ray (which is a direct port of the 2014 Blu-ray by the way) and we even get a couple of small extras added to the pot and an Atmos track. Definitely a fun flick, a good upgrade over the Blu-ray. Good Watch.



Technical Specifications:

Starring: Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Pena
Directed by: David O. Russell
Written by: Eric Warren Singer, David Russell
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 HEVC
Audio: English: Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 Core), English, Spanish DTS-HD MA 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish
Studio: Sony Pictures
Rated: R
Runtime: 138 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: May 21st, 2024
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Recommendation: Great Film

 

Epoxy1

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Like you Michael, somehow I missed this years ago and watched it for the first time this past weekend and absolutely LOVED IT. Story was engaging and fun and Amy Adams...well, I consider this her best role of her career. Great review.
 

Michael Scott

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Like you Michael, somehow I missed this years ago and watched it for the first time this past weekend and absolutely LOVED IT. Story was engaging and fun and Amy Adams...well, I consider this her best role of her career. Great review.

And it doesn't hurt that she was super easy on the eyes either in this film
 

Epoxy1

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I think a lot of us missed this when it came out in 2013. You wrote a great review and the Steelbook has been added to my collection.
 
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