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  • Gareth Crook

Hustlers (2019)

Mark Kermode brought me here. I don’t always agree with his reviews, but most of the time, I do. So that’s how I came to be watching a film with Jennifer Lopez about strippers. Neither of which I would normally bother with but the question is did Kermode get it right? Read on movie fan, read on. It starts as you’d imagine, wankers wolf-whistling. Wall Street wankers to be precise. The idea, quite believable, because it’s based on true events, paints a world of men with money and not half as much intelligence as they think. Ogling women, who are taking their money and aren’t half as intelligence as they think. Ramona (Lopez) takes Destiny (Constance Wu) under her wing, the successful and confident tutor teaching the protege how to get rich, without getting damaged and for a while things seem okay. Making no moral judgements, everyone seems happy. Until the financial crisis hits, Wall Street shits itself and the money dries up. Life gets desperate and desperate times lead to creative methods of generating money. The hunted become the hunters. Where their trade before had been legitimate, honest, they learn to bend the rules, drug the target and take them to the cleaners. It’s a rollercoaster of uncertainty that’s destined for a very big crash. For many different reasons I found this quite difficult to watch. Repulsive people, ripping one another off, a shocking indictment of greed. A lot of it does come down to whether you like the characters. If you do, it’s fun and probably a good ride. I really didn’t though and certainly not Lopez, who arguably isn’t supposed to be liked. I didn’t hate it, but didn’t enjoy it as much as Kermode. It’s amusing, funny in places, slick and direct. The journey is more satisfying than the destination and Kermode can’t always be right.



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