Hustlers Movie Review: A vibrant engagement

Updated: Sep 27, 2019, 16:06 IST | Johnson Thomas |

This film doesn't want to make any moral statements. It's all about living life in a capitalism driven world.

A still from the movie Hustlers (Picture courtesy/YouTube channel of KinoCheck International)
A still from the movie Hustlers (Picture courtesy/YouTube channel of KinoCheck International)

Hustlers
A; Comedy, Crime, Drama
Director: Lorene Scafaria
Cast: Jennifer Lopez, Constance Wu, Lili Reinhart, Keke Palmer, Julia Stiles, Mercedes Ruehl, Mette Towley, Trace Lysette, Madeline Brewer
Rating: Rating

Lorene Scafaria's 'Hustlers,' adapted from a 2015 New York Magazine story by Jessica Pressler, about a group of Big City strippers conning their wealthy clients out of thousands of dollars a night, may seem a little bizarre but it's pleasurable, nevertheless.

While the camera hones in on Destiny(Constance Wu), it's actually J.Lo's Ramona who makes the screen sizzle. When you see Jennifer Lopez strutting her stuff to the tune of Fiona Apple's 'Criminal' suggesting 'I've been a bad, bad, girl' on the main stage of a cavernous strip club, you know what to expect. 'Hustlers' basically teases you into getting involved and eventually gets you going full blast. The well preserved Ramona may be at the top of her form but so are the other new entrants on the scene, Keke Palmer's Mercedes and Lili Reinhart's Annabelle – all making the Lusty men in musty suits easy prey. This film doesn't want to make any moral statements. It's all about living life in a capitalism driven world. So even when the foursome employ unfair means (ketamine & other addictive substances), subsequent to the 2008 financial crash, to swindle their clients, we take it as part of their job. After all they are just helping their clients get a 'Hangover.' It may seem like grand larceny but who is complaining?

Watch the trailer of Hustlers here:

Scafaria takes the 'Goodfellas' route to create a symphony of music driven drama that is quite inveigling. Her use of Janet Jackson, Britney Spears, Bob Seger, The four Seasons, several other recognizable R&B, Pop and rock performers alongside the classical majesty of Chopin, infuses the narrative with a rhythm and drive that is hard to get off from. Add to that intensely involving cinematography and strong alluring performances from the lead cast – Wu delivers Destiny with emotional gravitas, Cardi B and Lizzo showcase their Artist-performer range, Palmer and Reinhart are impressive and J.Lo's brand of sizzling magnetism makes it all the more exciting. The framing device of having the movie presented as an extended flashback – part of an interview given by the protagonist, Dolores/Destiny (Constance Wu), to an investigative journalist (Julia Stiles), does not add much depth to the dramatic range here but this vicariously delineated, vibrantly presented dramedy is a winning assemblage, nevertheless.

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