When Martin Scorsese changed the way we looked at mobsters with GoodFellas and Casino, he also set the stage for movies about American business.
Scorsese's own The Wolf of Wall Street, which hits digital on Tuesday and DVD and Blu-ray on March 25, finds the director applying his narrative and tonal techniques to the tale of an unscrupulous moneymaker played by Leonardo DiCaprio.
Tuesday brings American Hustle, writer-director David O. Russell's tale of crime, cons and the pursuit of fortune.
The performances are terrific but the movie is no more than good, too stretched out and rambling in places. That, along with its focus on trust and betrayal, made it seem like Russell's reworking of Casino. I even tried to work out a binding theory in which Christian Bale and Bradley Cooper were the mates to Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci in Casino — and maybe that Amy Adams was accordingly Sharon Stone. (De Niro, by the way, has worked with both directors and makes an appearance in American Hustle.)
Anyway, American Hustle ($30.99 DVD/digital combo, $40.99 Blu-ray/DVD/digital combo), based on a real case, offers the adventures of con artists (Bale and Adams) roped into working for a federal agent (Cooper) trying to bring down corrupt politicians. The attempts are intermittently comedic and terrifying, and the actors — including Jennifer Lawrence and Jeremy Renner — are at full throttle. But there were times when I wanted to throttle Russell for letting scenes go on too long.
Extras include a making-of piece and more than 20 minutes of deleted and extended scenes.