‘American Hustle’ is a roller-coaster of a movie; whether it’s also a pleasant ride, we’ll leave it up to you. Having watched in the elegant-cool cinema at Olympic Studios, the Spirit thoroughly enjoyed it.
By Paloma Rao, LLB LAw
Olympic Studios is modest in addressing its incredible and inspiring history. The intimate venue, offering two large screening rooms, a bar and restaurant, avoids boasting about its unexpected past ‒ more of which I would have enjoyed seeing. The venue opened in 1906, providing two large dance halls which became theatres for West End productions. After being used for a variety of different purposes, the Olympic Studios eventually became a recording studio in 1966, used by bands such as the Rolling Stones, Queen, Led Zeppelin, The Who, Jimi Hendrix and The Beatles, with U2 being the last band to record there in 2009. Situated in Barnes, one would expect the journey to be more stressful than it really is. However, direct buses from Hammersmith tube station are frequent, making the trip truly worth the while. As you enter the simple, yet elegant reception you can see the entrance to the classy and dimly lit restaurant, perfect for a romantic candlelit dinner. With large windows and pretty baked goods on display, the restaurant offers a unique, intimate vibe. While the menu offers a gourmet selection of mostly British food, the elegant restaurant and bar might be a tad pricey for a student’s day out.
While the cinema tickets also appear expensive (£15 for an adult ticket; no student discounts), Olympic Studios compensates for it in a way which other cinemas do not. Popcorn, sweets and other snacks are beautifully arranged and surprisingly reasonably priced! The £2.50 popcorn undoubtedly makes up for the slightly more expensive tickets, and as you enter the screening room you are confident that you are getting your money’s worth. Each person has a small table to themselves and the spacious plush seats recline (yes, recline!). Sofas are also available at the back or a double seat for a couple. This luxurious cinema is perfect for a special occasion.
The movie we saw here, “American Hustle”, directed by Davis O. Russell, tells the story of conman Irving Rosenfeld. Loosely based on a true story from the late 1970s, in which the FBI forced a notorious conman into carrying out an operation on corrupt politicians by offering bribes from a fake sheikh, the film begins by pointing out that ‘Some of this actually happened,’ suggesting a playful and imaginative spin on the true events. This, in my opinion, represents the film as a whole. It focuses less on the seriousness of the scam and more on the four outrageous characters that make this film as hilarious as it is. The overweight yet confident Irving and his fake-British mistress and partner in crime Sydney Prosser are played by Christian Bale and Amy Adams, who both take on unusual roles in this refreshing film. The pair are caught out by FBI Agent Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper), and as a result help DiMaso catch corrupt public officials. Among all this, Jennifer Lawrence plays the role of Irving’s emotionally unstable wife who, while causing problems for the investigation, gives the movie its comedic touch.
While Lawrence unfortunately has limited screen time, O. Russell has successfully turned this crime-based film into a light-hearted comedy by exploring the sociopathic and complex characters and their relationships with one another. This film is definitely well-deserving of its ten Oscar nominations for 2014.
American Hustle is one of nine movies nominated for Best Picture at the 86th Academy Awards and this is part of our Oscar Race reviews. American Hustle plays at the Olympic Studios until February 26th.