Inspired by a New York article that follows a dynamic group of strippers as they take on their Wall Street clients following the 2008 economic collapse. ‘Hustlers’ adapts a New York magazine article into a 111 minute film. It is quite evident in the film that it is lacking enough material to justify that runtime. That’s not to say it is bad – in fact, we’re genuinely surprised that it managed to pull this off to this quality. The runtime is quite stretched when it could have used that extra time to explore deeper into its themes or characters. Constance Wu and Jennifer Lopez anchor this film down by providing strong performances. Constance Wu impresses most as she is able to convey compelling emotion that makes her the most compelling. Our main issue is that we feel disconnected to the characters because the film expects its audience to root for the protagonists – to put it simply, they’re pretty awful people. It never rises above its feminist core and explore it’s thematics enough to justify the actions of its characters.
‘Hustlers’ looks the best when it operates inside the club as it is flashy, colourful and with a touch of glamour. The production design team co-operates nicely with cinematographer, Todd Banhazl, to create a strong atmospherical set inside the club that is shot superbly. The film will use slo-mo too often which disrupts the pace of the film alongside boring present-day sequences with uninteresting set-design. The score uses popular songs from the 2000s that are brilliant at indicating the time period it is in.
While ‘Hustlers’ definitely has its flaws that stop it from being a great film, it definitely has its merits that deserve credit. Shot in 29 days on a $20 million budget, it is an impressive filmmaking achievement. ‘Hustlers’ is a stylish film that attempts to explore money psychology and greed but has very little to say despite all of its good qualities.