Today i’m going to be reviewing hustlers. Now you may have heard that this film is rather good, but are unsure about whether a film about strippers could actually be good? I’m here to reassure you that this film has a lot of meaningful things to say. So hold your dollar bills and hear me out.
Hustlers Film Review And My Opinion
Hustlers follow the character of destiny. The new girl at a strip club befriends the older and more experienced Ramona. Ramona teaches destiny, how to encourage big spending from her clients especially Wall Street guys. After leaving briefly and the 2008 financial crash destiny is forced to return to the club. She sees that Ramona has found a new way to bring clients is called fishing.
Ramona invites destiny to join her to make sure they have a higher chance of succeeding. Ramona adds the spiking of the guy’s drinks with a mix of MDMA and ketamine to the plan, which makes it easier to get their credit cards and charge money to them. Eventually one of the guys loses everything and goes to the police with evidence that incriminates Ramona and destiny and their cohorts. That is by far the longest plot outline i have done but don’t let that put you off the film which has a far less clunky pace than my description of it. In fact that is one of the things i liked about this film.
The pace, the filmmakers knew when to montage and when not to montage. It effectively showed things through little actions or details rather than whole scenes. An example of this is the montage that opens the film. We see destiny getting ready to perform. Go out on stage, dance for some sleazeballs, lose money because she has to tip people at the club. She goes home, goes to bed, wakes up the next day, and gets ready. Right before she leaves the montage finishes with her asking her grandmother where the necklace is that she normally wears. Her grandmother replies, its fine Dorothy.
From that short sequence, we see how unglamorous and unfair destiny’s life is. But we understand her reason for doing what she does. That moment with her grandmother was particularly poignant and gives destiny motivation for finding a way to make more money.
The protagonist setup was done in the first five minutes. What is also interesting about this montage is the voice-over from Janet Jackson. From song control that plays over the very first shot. We hear this is a story about control, my control, control of what i say, control of what i do, and this time i’m going to do it my way.
It was quite unusual but effectively foreshadows the events of the rest of the film. In essence, it’s a story about, how destiny gains control and remains in control of her life. I was hooked from then on this film continued to surprise me. How many pole dancing or stripping scenes have you seen in films? I assume enough to have a template of what they should look like. Hustlers take those scenes and give them new life. For example the heavily talked about the scene where JLO or Ramona shows destiny pol dance positions is accompanied by a Chopin Etude.
The filmmakers have removed the focus from the setting and brought it to the teacher-student relationship. The athleticism of the activity and the reality of the work that goes on behind the profession. It was strange, to begin with, but certainly grabbed my attention because i could tell that the filmmakers were treating their subject with respect and not making fun of the characters. Instead of finding interesting ways to better portray their story. That is the biggest and best surprise of this film.
The story is treated like any other story deserving of some cinematic creativity. Take magic mike! Sure it broke the rules or maybe just the one rule. The strippers that were normally women, were now men but the feel of the film. The clichés in the story made it no better than any other film on the topic. It was lazy filmmaking. Hustlers are not.
Some of this comes down to how the source material is treated. The article of this film is based on called the hustlers at schools has a clear storytelling voice. The boldness and sassiness of the real people shine through the words. It has some very important messages about the varying experiences of class and wealth.
I have to commend the writer of the film Lorraine Ceferia who fought for and was given the role of director as well. For how well she translated the feeling of reading the article into the feeling of watching the film. If you read the article for yourself you’ll see how truthful she stayed to her source material. It was very much the same feeling i talk about in my review of a beautiful day in the neighborhood and how it relates to the article it’s based on.
I find it even more important in the case of hustlers, especially when compared to another film another adaptation that involves Wall Street strippers, and money. I’m talking about the wolf of Wall Street with a story that it is based on is certainly wild but all that film does is take that craziness and make it bigger. Adding a bombastic soundtrack having edgy editing, glorifying the sex, and making laughs out of the medicines. Scorsese has created a fun experience. I would argue that Seferia has made a far more convincing, creative, and emotionally rooted cinematic presentation of the same topic from a different point of view.
She takes things said by the real women to the journalist and puts them in the film. Managing to them, surround them with dialogue that matches and actions that always felt right in the moment. One of my favorite lines comes in the very last scene of the film. I don’t think i will spoil anything by saying them here.
Ramona says everybody is hustling. This city this whole country is a strip club. You got people tossing the money and people doing the dance. Frankly, this is far more poetic of a metaphor that i could have imagined hearing in a film like this. It perfectly exemplifies how the characters and real people are feeling.
You might be put off by a cast filled to the brim with music artists. I certainly was. If we excuse a slow motion shot of usher walking into the club then this is the best performing likely best directed bunch of pop stars that i have seen on screen. There is reason behind jlo’s golden globe nomination. She absolutely owns this character in what i would call is the performance of her career.
So what could have been a clichéd party film has been transformed into a friendship center drama with heart creative oomph and a script that stays truthful to the story, it’s trying to tell. I would recommend ignoring your assumptions as much as you can and giving hustlers a chance to surprise you.