Pelish at the Movies—Hustlers

~By Randy Pelish~

Hustlers is a cynical film made by a cynical industry for a cynical audience. It is also brilliant.

Set in a high end sex club in Manhattan just before and after the 2008 economic collapse and based on a true story, Hustlers is a dazzling portrait of rich men and needy women. It is devastating.

Constance Wu plays Destiny, a woman with lots of needs and little money. She’s trapped until she meets Ramona, Jennifer Lopez, the queen of the hustlers. Life gets much better for Destiny as Ramona trains her to fleece the suckers. And then the collapse comes, and the money dries up.

The ever resourceful Ramona comes up with a new scam; more risk but a lot more money. The girls are all very happy but not for long. Their avaricious descent into increasingly sordid behavior ensures the collapse of their criminal hustle.

Director/writer Lorene Scafaria has made a powerful film that reveals the dark side of human sexuality. Blessed with a fine cast anchored by Wu and Lopez, this sad tale is not without humor, but the laughs are of the uneasy variety. Women since the beginning of time have been abused. This time they fight back, but they still lose. This disturbing film is a must see.

Hustlers is currently playing at movie theaters in the Greater Reno area.

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