There isn’t a lot of plot explication in the new trailer for David O. Russell’s “American Hustle.” There doesn’t need to be. With a wildly enjoyable sense of style, the spot plunges us deeply -- and enjoyably -- into the movie's world of '70s shadiness.
As Led Zeppelin’s "Good Times Bad Times" plays portentously over the action, we get a quick montage of some very famous faces doing convincing — and convincingly bad — things, in Russell's new movie inspired by the Abscam sting operation of the 1970s. Christian Bale explains his philosophy of conning to Bradley Cooper. Amy Adams gives some chilling looks as a scheming vixen. “Only in America,” the oversized font flashes, and there’s a sense of the good life and the consequences it can bring running throughout.
With “The Fighter” in 2010, Russell drew one of the best performances from an actor in years out of Bale and pulled a working-class dimension out of Adams we'd never seen before. Last year he helped us see whole new sides of Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence in “Silver Linings Playbook.” Now the director has brought them all together, in what looks like a classic Russell mélange of rich characters and wild plotlines.
The trailer, incidentally, debuted on “Good Morning America,” where Russell did the unconventional thing of showing up to talk about it and its themes of identity and economic desperation. The movie hits Dec. 25.
Follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/ZeitchikLAT