american hustle, somehow, maybe unintentionally, pays its tribute to the fraud genre in vintage tinshell hollywood, ever since the 30s, such as james cageney's "blonde crazy" and "too hard to handle" in the pre-code hollywood period where larceny is a well-embraced form of anarchy. now our time of depression has a parallel with the 30s new deal days
america is a nation built primarily upon its conceptualization - which means the idea of america comes prior to the actuality of america. in other words, the magnitude of mendacity. you need to cheat, lie, swagger and brag to have enough confidence in you to get the things done as people often say, fake it until you make it. "people do what they need to do to survive" is the key line repeatedly refrained in the picture as the protagonists turn the wasted ruins into gold. you could fake your way to appear like a well-bred english socialite even you're just another girl of humble home in albuquerque, new mexico. the paradox is the act of conning itself is a statement of romanticism - the magical might within your head is powerful enough to build a castle for dreams of tomorrow, from politicians in new jersey, who is eager to improve the commoners' circumstance to casino mafia with resourceful experiences of conning, and they could all be taken in a well-fabricated lie. the point is, you gotta liberate your imaginations in order to make something out of nothing! that shall be the quintessential essence of american spirit.
perhaps that explains why the hustle has been "american" by the film's title, because it somehow renders the notion of american dream and its populist acceptance by inviting all people of various categories and social stratification into the domain of american dreamland, which is the stuff derived from your head - the magical might of your imagination. you could actually decide what you are and be it, and such fascination with the self-made man is what it's adorable about america as well as the movie - american hustle.