Analysis of American hustle

Summary "American Hustle" is a crime-comedy film that follows the exploits of Irving Rosenfeld, a con artist, and his girlfriend Sydney Prosser. Along with FBI agent Richie Dimaso, the trio targets corrupt politicians by filming them in compromising situations. However, their latest operation to scam Carmine Polito goes awry, and they have to navigate dangerous situations to avoid getting caught. Irving also struggles to balance his two wives while dealing with the consequences of his criminal activities. The movie ends with Irving and Sydney starting fresh, while Duke Ellington's "Jeeps Blues" plays in the background.



Characters in the screenplay, and their arcs:

Character Arc Critique Suggestions
Irving Rosenfeld Irving Rosenfeld starts out as a confident and accomplished con artist with a serious and intense demeanor, who is meticulous in both his appearance and his schemes. He falls in love with Sydney and becomes more emotional and vulnerable. Throughout the movie, he struggles to balance his personal and professional lives, is cautious and hesitant, but ultimately becomes a more cautious and pragmatic negotiator who is ready for a change. The character arc is well developed, but it could be more impactful if Irving's emotions and conflicts were shown more consistently throughout the movie.
There could be more scenes that show Irving's emotional struggle between his love for Sydney and his loyalty to his wife. Additionally, more focus on Irving's internal struggles would make his character arc more impactful.
Richie Dimaso Richie Dimaso starts as an ambitious, overzealous FBI agent who wants to take down corrupt politicians and make a name for himself. However, throughout the movie, he becomes more manipulative and ruthless, willing to take extreme risks to achieve his goals. His attraction to Edith, and his realization that he has been conned, leave him emotionally distraught and vulnerable at the end of the movie. While Richie's arc is interesting and complex, it feels somewhat rushed and underdeveloped. There are moments where it's difficult to fully understand his motivations, and his character development could benefit from more exploration and nuance.
One way to improve Richie's character arc would be to give more depth to his relationship with Edith and explore how it impacts his actions. Additionally, it could be useful to delve deeper into his backstory and family life to help explain his desire for power and recognition. Finally, more emphasis could be placed on his moral struggle and the difficult choices he faces in the course of the movie.
Edith Greensly Edith Greensly starts as an innocent and naive love interest of Irving and ends up as a confident and shrewd businesswoman who supports Richie's grand plans. Throughout the movie, she gains independence and confidence and shifts her loyalty from Irving to Richie. She also becomes a resourceful accomplice to Richie and encourages him to go through with the plan despite setbacks. In the end, Edith is dismissive and unapologetic about her role in the con, showing her growth as a person. The character arc of Edith Greensly is well-structured and shows significant growth throughout the movie. However, it would have been better if the movie had given more screen time to her character to fully explore her growth and transformation.
To improve the character arc of Edith Greensly, the movie can give more screen time and focus on her character development. The movie can also explore her backstory to understand her motivations better, which can help build a more comprehensive character arc.
Carmine Polito Carmine Polito starts off as a shrewd and skeptical mayor who genuinely cares for his family and constituents. He then becomes a vulnerable politician struggling to get funding for his project and is open to doing what it takes to get ahead. He eventually becomes a corrupt politician who is caught up in schemes and is prone to violence when pushed too far. He ends up sad and resigned to his fate. While Carmine Polito's arc is interesting and shows the dangers of corruption, it feels rushed and abrupt. We do not get to spend enough time with his character to fully understand his motivations and how he goes from a good, honest politician to a corrupt one.
To improve his character arc, it would be beneficial to have more scenes focusing on Carmine's rise to power and his initial motivations for wanting to rebuild Atlantic City. This could help the audience better understand how he became corrupt and make his eventual downfall more impactful. Additionally, it would be beneficial to show more of his relationships with his family and constituents to emphasize how his corruption affects those he cares about.
Sydney Prosser Sydney starts as a determined and intelligent woman trying to escape her past as a con artist. She falls in love with Irving and becomes his partner in crime, using her charm and wit to impress clients. Despite being conflicted about their dishonest lifestyle, she helps Irving con Mort and is determined to make their relationship work. As the stakes get higher and their scams become riskier, Sydney becomes more emotional and conflicted. She ultimately decides to turn on Irving and help the FBI in exchange for immunity. However, her love for Irving and loyalty to him is tested when she has to wear a wire and betray him. In the end, she accepts a plea deal and starts a new life, leaving behind her criminal past and embracing a more normal life. The character arc for Sydney is well-developed and comprehensive. However, it feels somewhat predictable and cliché, as her journey from criminal to informant follows a familiar pattern. Additionally, her motivations for helping the FBI could have been further explored and fleshed out to make her decision-making process more compelling.
To improve Sydney's character arc, the writers could have delved deeper into her past and explored the events that led her to become a con artist. This could have helped to better explain her motivations and inner conflicts. Additionally, the writers could have subverted audience expectations by having Sydney ultimately stay loyal to Irving, or by having her decision to turn on him be based on something other than self-preservation. Finally, the writers could have given Sydney more agency and independence, rather than having her primarily defined by her relationship with Irving.
Rosalyn Rosenfeld Rosalyn Rosenfeld goes from being a manipulative, vulnerable, and unhappy wife to a conflicted and emotional woman caught between her love for her son and growing feelings for Pete. She eventually realizes the toxicity of her relationship with Irving and decides to let go of him, taking control of her life and finding her own happiness. The character arc feels rushed and incomplete. There are abrupt changes in Rosalyn's behavior that don't seem to have clear triggers or reasons, making her character feel erratic and inconsistent.
To improve the character arc, the filmmakers could have explored Rosalyn's motivations and inner conflicts in more depth. They could have shown more of her past and how her upbringing affected her behavior and choices. Additionally, they could have given more time for Rosalyn's transformation, showing the gradual process of her gaining confidence and finding her inner strength. This would make her character arc feel more natural and satisfying, giving a clearer sense of closure and growth.