First look: David O. Russell’s ‘American Hustle’

With back-to-back Oscar-nominated films on his résumé, David O. Russell has cornered the American dream.

Now it’s time to hustle.

Following the success of 2010’sThe Fighter and 2012’sSilver Linings Playbook, the director will head back into the heart of awards season with American Hustle (in limited release on Dec. 13, in theaters everywhere Dec. 25), a fictionalized film based on the FBI’s Abscam sting operation.

Reunited with members of his Fighter and Silver Linings acting teams, Russell focuses on the intersection of the government and the Mob in the New York area in the late ’70 and ’80s, applying his textured realism to a world of entrapment, stylish swagger and raw humor.

Christian Bale stars as Irving Rosenfeld, a brilliant Bronx con-man whose specialization in stolen art catches the attention of unhinged FBI agent Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper). (Those tight curls are “not a perm, just for the record,” says Russell,

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