FAIR PLAY Is More Stressful Than Erotic

Currently playing in select theaters and available for streaming on Netflix on Friday, October 6, is a film labeled as an erotic thriller; however, I feel this label is a misnomer. Perhaps my idea of an erotic thriller doesn’t give the subgenre enough credit because I was expecting a softcore erotic movie that had very little to say save for some cheap, sexy thrills. While Fair Play does have some sexual content, the movie is more about sexual politics in the workplace rather than sexy time. The film has much to say about gender issues in the business world and does so with a sharp, biting tone.

Phoebe Dynevor stars as Emily, and Alden Ehrenreich stars as Luke. Unbeknownst to their co-workers and superiors, the two co-workers have engaged in a hot and heavy romantic relationship, resulting in a risky but seemingly perfect engagement. Emily and Luke work as underlings for a successful but cutthroat hedge fund, with equal ambitions for advancement in the company. Initially, Luke is up for a powerful promotion; however, Emily gets selected for the position. While Luke supports and praises his love for her success, things get rather complicated when they clash on what they perceive best for the company’s future. This conflict further complicates an already problematic relationship and shows the uglier sides of both personalities.

Written and directed by Chloe Domont, Fair Play gets nasty and vile when portraying the dark sides of ambition and greed. Domont’s script does a great job of showing how contemptuous people in business can become when it comes to competition. It doesn’t matter that these two individuals once had much love for one another. Their real priorities come down to their careers and advancement in business. Above, I stated that this movie was a very stressful experience, and I was not joking. Watching this sexy and romantic relationship devolve into a monstrous, toxic relationship is somewhat unnerving.

This development of the protagonists works so well, thanks to the fantastic performances by Phoebe Dynevor and Alden Ehrenreich. Both have a beautiful and sexy chemistry when things are going well, but exceptionally portray their contemptible sides when their relationship is put through the wringer. The film also features excellent performances by Eddie Marsan, Rich Sommer, and Sebastian de Souza. However, this show belongs to Dynevor and Ehrenreich.

I highly recommend Fair Play as a fine introduction to Chloe Domont as a director and screenwriter and a fantastic showcase of Dynevor and Ehrenreich’s acting talents. But, if you’re looking to escape the stresses of real life, this movie should be best saved for a less eventful day. This one rocked me to the core.

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