Clever and enjoyable throughout, Hustlers mostly rises to the occasion thanks to a pair of amazing performances by Jennifer Lopez and Constance Wu and focused direction by Lorene Scafaria.
A group of struggling strippers band together to commit crimes against their Wall Street employees.
With her third film, director Lorene Scafaria finds her sweet spot with a female centric picture that is full of unexpected and genuine thrilling sequences that elevate the true story behind it, and while it does have some flaws, it ultimately excels by the end to portray a poignant message that paints the situation as neither black nor white.
The film does suffer from an episodic feel to it, with the time jumps often making the film feel split in parts that many times don’t go along as well as the filmmakers hope, especially during a jarring jump in the first act. However, it’s the performances that manage to take the film to great heights.
Jennifer Lopez has a career-best performance as stripper Ramona, portraying the sexiness, ruthlessness and compassion of the character with extreme complexity and nuance that immediately makes the character the standout of the whole film. Paired with an almost equally excellent Constance Wu, and the cast is most of the time incredible to look at. Lorene also makes the choice to include a lot of people mostly known as either singers or teen actresses, and while it may prove to be controversial, it worked for the most part to give the film a new edge and served as a nice showcase for surprise standouts Cardi B, Lili Reinhart and Keke Palmer.
Overall, Hustlers mostly succeeds at putting all its ideas forward in a brilliantly acted film that is poised to become instantly iconic for Jennifer Lopez’s turn as Ramona.