Their seemingly mild criminal enterprise (apart from drug-making, they were just “putting these men to sleep” and, again, only taking “stolen money”; hence it was naively perceived as “not so bad”…or maybe karma!) was flourishing, but very soon, things got too big. Despite Dorothy’s reluctance, Ramona brought in additional women not to be trusted with their drug problems. In addition, Dorothy started to have doubts and was morally conflicted as not all their victims “deserved it.” From there, all went downhill, and the rest is history – or more like a news story!
“Hustlers’ cast is compelling and is also one full of achievements.”
Hustlers is based on well-known events and, although the director took some liberties. Most of it plays like a semi-biography of the real women loosely portrayed (or the inspiration for the roles of Destiny and Ramona). So, it is not your typical “hustling” film and is far from a Showgirls type of movies, but, as many were quick to make the comparison, is closer to a sensational retelling of modern history a-la Scorsese Goodfellas. However, for some viewers, the buddy/mentor aspect of Hustlers makes it closer to his 2013 The Wolf of Wall Street; which let’s be honest, is absolutely ironic! But it shares a similar vibe, great chemistry between characters, and said characters being completely morally ambiguous, yet audience root for them. In both films, there is also a very inspiring mentor-like figure making “the most out of the worst” and stealing the show. Coincidentally Lopez Ramona mirrors, to some extent, McCaughnohey Dallas from Soderbergh’ Magic Mike. He, like Ramona, impressed or recruited newbies, was a good salesman seducing clients or colleagues alike with a charismatic aura emanating from a “good bod” and a mantra that could as well be ‘greed is good.’ And like Tatum’s Mike, Destiny wanted to get out of this life, but, as we all know too well, in life, luck rarely comes to desperate souls who need it the most. Likewise, in these types of films, characters often realize that loyalty has limits, and well, “life ain’t fair”!
Hustlers’ cast is compelling and is also one full of achievements. It is the kind of ensemble that deserves some kind of recognition as the casting department did a great job, and the chemistry was remarkable. First, we have Wu playing Dorothy / Destiny, she is one of handful Asian-American movie star and, with this movie, has now led a major critically and commercially successful feature two years in a row after Crazy Rich Asians. In Hustlers, she is truly brilliant, exhibiting a great acting range. We see her back and forth at different stages of her life, starting as a sweet and wide-eyed newcomer, to a desperate and angry single mother barely able to make ends meet, to finally cold or austere looking like the perfect picture of a conservative suburban helicopter parent. She was sadly an unconvincing stripper, but maybe that was part of the deal!