Film Review: Hustlers

09:16 September 18, 2019
By: David Vicari

Hustlers is the antithesis of the stripper themed movies Showgirls (1995) and Striptease (1996) because, well, Hustlers is actually good. It's well directed, well acted and has a compelling story.

Inspired by true events and a New York Magazine article by Jessica Pressler, Hustlers tells the story of a group of down on their luck lady strippers in Manhattan who decide to fleece their rich Wall Street clients. The ringleader is Ramona (Jennifer Lopez) and her plan is to give her clients a drug concoction that gets them high enough to spend lots of money but with no memory of the extravagant party the next morning.

The main character here is Destiny, played by Constance Wu, who tells her story to a journalist (Julia Stiles), which sets up the film's flashback structure. The narrative jumps around in time occasionally, but director and screenwriter Lorene Scafaria always makes it clear as to where we are on the timeline. Her slick and energetic style seems to be inspired by filmmaker Martin Scorsese, particularly his mob pictures Goodfellas (1990) and Casino (1995).

Wu is good, but her character may be a little too saintly. However, the movie belongs to Jennifer Lopez in a blistering performance as a woman who wants something in return for years of hard luck, and she has no problem stealing from Wall Street crooks.

Hustlers is a gritty and compelling morality tale and is far, far, far superior to unintended camp like Showgirls.

★★★ (out of four)

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