An excellent cast, a meandering plot which owes something to "The Sting", a great soundtrack, and a basis in a real-life poorly-run scam operation in the seventies should make for good cinema.
We have a cast full of wannabees. Amy Adams wants to jettison her very ordinary background for a role as a glamorous member of the British aristocracy. Christian Bale wants to have hair, and we are treated to a display of the most tortuous comb-over in history.
Bradley Cooper wants to wow the FBI by catching corrupt politicians, and Jennifer Lawrence wants the high life, and, wonderfully oblivious to logic or ethics, will do what it takes to get it. Renner wants to revitalise New Jersey and to get the glory out of creating wealth and jobs, and if he scams a few hundred thousand on the way, who's to care?
Everyone is conning everyone else. Jennifer Lawrence wants what she wants, and uses everyone around her to get it. She may not be bright but she is amazingly self absorbed. Amy uses Christian and Bradley using high intelligence and scanty clothing.
The business con morphs into a "sting" con which morphs into a revenge con which morphs into something altogether different. Enter the mob, and the cons become very dangerous. It's high energy, mind numbingly complex, edge of the seat stuff.
It was fun watching the game play out, and I suspect that this film will be in the running for Oscar nominations.
It was a pity that I didn't really care what happened to the characters - except maybe Renner.