Irving (Christian Bale + 20kg of fat) is no oil painting himself, but he does flog a few fakes: one of his many small-time con operations. He meets a dancer (Amy Adams), who soon becomes his partner in crime, posing as an upper-crust Brit called Sydney (bit of a giveaway, you’d think).
Then they’re caught by FBI agent Richie (Bradley Cooper, reprising his manic act from Silver Linings Playbook). Richie forces them to help him sting other con artists in exchange for lenient sentences. But Richie’s ambitions soon escalate to corrupt politicians and beyond, and Irving and Sydney are soon in over their heads. Adding to the chaos are Irving’s manipulative millstone of a wife (Jennifer Lawrence, great) and Richie’s hard-on for Sydney.
There’s plenty of quirk here and the roles are all actor magnets, but the multiple voiceovers and 20 minutes of back-story exposition at the start don’t do it any favours. 7/10
Released December 12, 2013.