FAIR PLAY (NETFLIX) (2023)
SYNOPSIS: An unexpected promotion at a cutthroat hedge fund pushes a young couple's relationship to the brink, threatening to unravel far more than their recent engagement.
Netflix marketing department wants you to believe that Fair Play is the must watch erotic thriller of the year. We have to admit it does have a handful of sex scenes (nudity excluded) but to call it an erotic thriller seems pretty far-fetched.
Written and directed by TV director Chloe Domont who has expertly crafted a story revolving power play between the sexes. Throws in a toxic workplace and a loving relationship into the mix, you get an intense, dynamic talky story set in Wall Street.
Hedge fund analysts Emily (Phoebe Dynevor) and Luke (Alden Ehrenreich) are deeply in love and getting engaged. But their relationship soon turns sour when Emily gets promoted to portfolio manager working alongside their ruthless, fiery tempered boss, Campbell (Eddie Marsan). Did we mentioned it’s against company policy to have a relationship in the office?
Anyway, Emily promises Luke that she will look out for him maybe singing his praises in front of Campbell. Unfortunately, the latter does not give a crap about Luke, in fact Campbell despises him. Thus the unhappiness starts to boil in Luke. The sex stops. He gets jealous when Emily starts to come home late after drinking sessions with Campbell and gang. The damage is done and you wonder where is Fair Play heading to?
The story of Fair Play covers a lot of ground from competitive corporate workplace, sexual politics, family dynamics to personal mindset. It makes you question why when a woman rises to be the boss, she attracts more wrong attention than the average man. And also why the man in the couple finds it humiliating and bothered when the lady gets to climb up the corporate ladder faster than him.
Phoebe Dynevor and Alden Ehrenreich are superb as the “tragic” couple caught in the maelstrom making their characters seem more believable than it should be. Dynevor is riveting throughout, turning her seemingly vulnerable character to a stronger, controlling self by the end of it. Ehrenreich matches up by playing a complete jerk that makes things even more uncomfortable through his drastic behaviour and actions.
Please don’t watch this thinking it’s merely an updated erotic thriller from the 90s that probably stars Michael Douglas and Demi Moore. Fair Play is not that kind of movie. There’s no eroticism or thrill in the entire story except for a rather uncomfortable sequence. Ultimately, an intense, well-written and executed drama as compared to empty big screen CGI spectacles.
Review by Linus Tee