I liked it. Don’t get me wrong.
I love how strong the story is, a true story, about these former-strippers turned robbers. It’s a rare female-drive anti-hero flick that does so many things right. Except sometimes… it’s messaging gets a little mixed.
Hear me out.
Through the narrative framing of Destiny (Constance Wu) telling her story to a journalist (Elizabeth played by Julia Stiles) we hear a lot expository dialogue about how we’re meant to “feel” about the crimes these women are committing.
The message is clear:
The rich Wall Street guys hustled to get theirs, so the strippers hustled to get theirs. There are other moments that briefly touch on the fact men don’t talk about being victimized by women. Additionally Destiny’s involvement described by Ramona (Jennifer Lopez) is because “she wanted friends, and a family.” The last shot of the film is the Destiny, Ramona and their other accomplices dancing with one another at the height of their success.
Here’s what’s mixed about that… unless you’re already feeling that themes are mixed.
What they did was wrong. And the generalization of all these men being “rich Wall Street bros who stole their earnings” bites them, when a seemingly good man who had suffered so much allows us, the audience, to sympathize with this single victim.
Oh shit. What they’re doing isn’t all fun and games after all. My issue is, and I say this with hesitance, that our anti-heroes didn’t quite meet their deserved punishment. I’m not talking about the real-life sentencing, which seemed fair enough, I’m speaking solely to what we were shown.
We couldn’t quite feel the weight of their consequences, because the film spends too much time hyping up their “family status” and the narrative of sticking it to Mr. Monopoly.