American Hustle (2013)

Screenplay Genre: Comedy/Drama

Movie Time: 138 Minutes

1. Inciting Incident

Irving, immediately attracted to Sydney after meeting at the party, decides to reveal his ultimate secret, in hopes she will become a business partner.

INT. IRV’S DINGY OFFICE – DAY

Irv leads Sydney into a small, dingy Manhattan office on an upper floor.

Sydney: I know it’s your office, but, you have these other places. What’s this for? Why did you bring me here?

Irving: This getting to be my main business, my growing business. I help get loans for guys who can’t get loans. I’m their last resort.

Sydney: You’re their last resort? Because interest rates are north of 12% and heading to 18%.

Irving: That’s right, smarty pants.

Sydney: Fucking Jimmy Carter. Fucking Nixon really. And the war and the deficit and all of that shit.

Irving: I love you, you’re so smart. You are.

Sydney: Thanks kid but how do you get them the money?

Irving: Well  …

Sydney: You don’t do you? You don’t. (00:13:23)

 

2. Lock In (End of Act One)

When Sydney is caught conning FBI agent Richie Dimaso, Richie offers Irving and Sydney an opportunity to let the two off the hook and leave the them alone if they help him with get four busts. However, Sydney feels they should skip town, but Irving says he can’t because of his son. She comes to realize where Irving’s priorities are, and now needs to figure out a way to save them both.

INT. SYDNEY’S APARTMENT BEDROOM – NIGHT

Irv walks to her and bends down to join her on the floor as she sobs.

Sydney: (cries) I’m going to do these four busts, these four cons, to get us out of this. Not just me, but us. And I’m going to get really close with Richie, in case we need to use him, if we need another move.

Irving: We don’t need another move. We need four busts, and we’re done.

Sydney: We are going to need another move, trust me. And you’re going to be thanking me. The key to people is what they believe and what they want to believe and I want to believe that we were real, and I want to believe that a could want me. And I’m going to take all of that heartbreak, and all of that sorrow, and I’m going to use it. And I’m going to make Richie think that I want him, and that I like him, and I’m going to be very convincing … And I’m pissed off at you. (00:30:42)

 

3. First Culmination (Midpoint)

A meeting to take down Mayor Carmine Polito goes sour when the Sheik is not present. He storms out of the room. Irving chases after him, hoping to convince him to take the deal.

EXT. PLAZA HOTEL – DAY

Carmine Polito, upset, storms down the street as Irving catches up.

Carmine: Yeah, look, I understand. It’s a great opportunity. It’s just that I got a little thrown by going to have a meeting with somebody who ended up not being there, so …

Irving: Hey, listen, I was thrown as well.

Carmine: I’ll understand. I’ll deal with you directly. I don’t want any middleman or any of that bullshit.

Irving: Done.

Irv smiles and nods as they walk back into the hotel together. (00:47:53)

 

4. Main Culmination (End of Act Two)

Carmine gives a tour of Atlantic City to the Sheik, Richie, Irving, and Sydney. Taking them to the back room, Carmine introduces them to potential business associates who are connected to the Mob. Here, they meet Victor Tellagio, right-hand man to Mob boss Meyer Lansky, here to talk terms of the business deal.

INT. CASINO BACK ROOM – NIGHT

Paco Hernandez/Sheik stands up and reaches over to Tellagio to shake his hand. Irving panics.

Sheik: (in Arabic) It is great doing business with you. The investment is real. It was a pleasure to meet you.

Irving exhales in relief that Paco managed to say anything passable in Arabic.

Victor leans over to talk to Carmine.

Victor: Listen to me carefully. If you’re real, you put ten million in the bank of our choice in the next two weeks.

Carmine nods.

Victor: Carmine, listen to me carefully, if you’re real, you put ten million in the bank of our choice in the next two weeks or not only will the Sheik feel insulted, but our friends in Florida will feel deeply disrespected and so will I.

Irving looks at Victor, who stares back at him. This is bad. (01:15:06)

 

5. Third Act Twist

Rosalyn, having lunch with Pete, a mob associate, reveals information she overheard on one of Irving’s phone conversation.

INT. MAINSON D’LUC – HUNTINGTON, LONG ISLAND – DAY

Pete: You said IRS. What IRS guy? What are you talking about?

Rosalyn: I hear them on the phone. I think that he’s got Irv in some sort of bind or something and he’s making him do all this stuff and so Irv and Carmine right now are at the Plaza Hotel throwing away all this money at like Congress or whatever. They’re giving money to congress or something. I don’t really know but I overheard it on the phone.

Pete’s brow furrows – this is serious.

Pete: You know I hate to do this to you but I have to go talk to your husband. My boss is already angry. You stay here I’m going to give you some money for a taxi home. (01:43:04)


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