Hustlers is Goodfellas with g-strings. It’s gritty, brisk, sexy, and has a narrative that’s engaging as hell. Jennifer Lopez’s performance in the film reminded of how it felt to watch Stallone in Creed. The award season buzz for the former fly girl isn’t just nonsense. She’s fantastic! The strength of Hustlers comes from its ensemble. From Cardi B to Constance Wu, every lady was perfectly cast and aided in setting the perfect tone for one of the year’s biggest surprises. Why is everyone so floored by the concept of a wonderful movie about a crew of criminals (led by JLO) who happen to be pole dancers? The problem is likely two-fold. For starters, when was the last genuinely great Jennifer Lopez movie? Lastly, when was the last truly great film from STX entertainment? Remember, this is the studio that gave us Peppermint.
Hustlers doesn’t preoccupy itself with trying to sell T&A to the public (that’s obviously in the film). Where the film gets it right is how the narrative is focused on the emotional reasons behind these girls stripping and ultimately joining Ramona (Lopez) in her scheme. So what is her angle? Well, she recruits dancers to target wealthy bankers to go out with them for a night on the town. They get liquored, and in the course of partying, they slip a powder in their drink which knocks them out, and they run up their credit cards. What’s starts as only for a little while, ends being for much longer.
The cinematography in Hustlers was quite compelling. Todd Banhazl made use of single-camera shots to help capture the excitement of what was going on during those club sequences. Lorene Scafaria was able to achieve a narrative which highlighted how this went down (remember it’s based on a true story) while still showcasing the misogyny of these men and how these girls turned the tables on them.
Overall, Hustlers is fantastic and well worth checking out this weekend.