American Hustle, out in UAE cinemas tomorrow, put in an appearance at this week’s Berlin International Film Festival. The film has 10 Oscar nominations already, but its director David O Russell has a whole new category for the 1970s con artist tale. “It’s an opera, in a way,” he told reporters. “The emotions are big and operatic; the predicament is twisted and operatic, with big highs and big lows. People sing right into the camera.”
Christian Bale, who stars as the con artist Irving Rosenfeld, said that “if video stores still existed … they would have an immense problem working out which category to put this film in, because it’s drama, it’s tragedy, it’s comedy – who knows which category”.
Rosenfeld’s attention-grabbing hairpiece is almost a star in its own right. “For me, it was so unexpected to see this con artist having such an unconvincing con on his head,” Bale said. The filmmakers wanted to ensure that the character – based on the real-life con artist Mel Weinberg, who was forced to work with the FBI to avoid a prison sentence – didn’t fit with the usual image of confidence men as smooth operators.
“There was a great juxtaposition,” Bale said. “It became to me a very vital thing to add to it.”