In a world where high finance meets passionate romance, Chloe Domont’s Fair Play Review takes us on a thrilling rollercoaster ride through the lives of Emily (played by the talented Phoebe Dynevor) and Luke (the charismatic Alden Ehrenreich). Their love story unfolds against the backdrop of a ruthless New York hedge fund, where secrecy, ambition, and betrayal collide. But this isn’t your typical erotic thriller; it’s a gripping drama that delves into the raw and unfiltered emotions of its characters. In this extended exploration, we will delve deeper into the dynamic narrative, character evolution, and the film’s reflection on contemporary issues.
1. A Fiery Start:
The movie kicks off with Emily and Luke’s passionate engagement. Their chemistry is palpable, and their love story seems destined for greatness. However, secrecy becomes their constant companion, as they navigate the treacherous waters of a corporate world where their relationship is strictly against company policy. The intensity of their connection and the risks they take set the stage for a captivating story.
The initial scenes of Emily standing alone on a cold ledge, smoking a cigarette, and Luke’s alluring presence as he whisks her into a party at his brother’s wedding establish the magnetic pull between the characters. The film doesn’t shy away from depicting the messiness of their love, as evidenced by a bold scene where their lovemaking is interrupted by a menstrual mishap. Amidst it all, an engagement ring emerges, sealing their passionate commitment.
2. A Slow Descent:
As Emily’s career takes an unexpected turn with a promotion, Luke’s initial support gives way to hidden resentments. He manipulates Emily into making a risky investment that goes awry, leading to the gradual deterioration of their love life and increased tensions. The film masterfully captures the unraveling of their relationship, with emotions shifting from sensuousness to rage.
The portrayal of their morning routine, once filled with intimacy and togetherness, evolves into a rigid separation. Emily’s journey from sleeping together to sleeping alone on the couch symbolizes the chasm that forms between them. Their rift, both in their personal and professional lives, becomes a central theme as the story progresses.
3. Realistic Workplace Drama:
Domont doesn’t just explore the complexities of love; she also delves deep into the cutthroat world of finance. The hedge fund setting is portrayed authentically, with fast-paced dialogue and intricate financial jargon. The film’s depiction of the toxic atmosphere, where coworkers readily betray each other, adds to the palpable tension.
The authenticity of the finance world shines through in the film’s portrayal of risk/reward systems, the camaraderie, and the treachery. The dialogue, though fast-paced and dense with inside information, allows the audience to grasp the underlying logic of the transactions. It’s as if they’re betting on ever-changing 3D holograms, a world where every decision carries immense weight.
4. Power Dynamics and Post-#MeToo Reflections:
“Fair Play” takes on the post-#MeToo era, highlighting the power dynamics and challenges that women face in male-dominated workplaces. Emily, despite her qualifications and work ethic, grapples with sexism. Luke, once supportive, uses misogynistic tactics to undermine her. The film sheds light on the struggles women endure and the entitlement some men exhibit.
Chloe Domont skillfully weaves themes of gender dynamics and entitlement into the narrative. Emily’s background, marked by resilience and determination to overcome obstacles, contrasts with Luke’s sense of entitlement. Their equal abilities and commitment to their work make Emily the better employee, yet Luke clings to a perceived entitlement he believes he deserves. This entitlement is a luxury Emily has never had, having worked tirelessly to get where she is.
5. A Thrilling Performance:
While Alden Ehrenreich impressively portrays Luke’s transformation from a supportive partner to a maniacal foe, it’s Phoebe Dynevor who steals the show. Her portrayal of Emily, a woman balancing public reserve with private struggles, is nothing short of exceptional. Dynevor’s ability to convey emotions through subtle gestures and expressions is a testament to her talent.
Phoebe Dynevor’s performance is a tour de force. Throughout most of the film, Dynevor holds her body rigid, towering in her sleek yet uncomfortable heels, only allowing her emotions to show in brief flashes of anger, joy, or stress across her face. This control over her expressions becomes harder as Luke’s behavior becomes increasingly erratic. Yet, even as she projects one version of herself, Dynevor’s breakout performance shows the strain that this double identity takes on her through just a deep breath here, a hidden look of sorrow there, or a slight tremble in her response to a co-worker.
6. A Powerful Climax:
In a fiery and climactic scene reminiscent of the classic “Gaslight,” Emily confronts the power dynamics within their relationship and the workplace. Domont’s homage to this classic film adds depth to the narrative, showcasing the impact of manipulation on a couple’s private and public perceptions.
The climax is a turning point in the film, where Emily finds her voice and challenges the gaslighting tactics employed against her. Domont’s steady grasp of the term “gaslighting” and its relevance in a contemporary context is commendable. It’s not just manipulation of reality but also an exploration of power dynamics within a couple.
7. The Director’s Singular Voice:
Chloe Domont’s directorial debut showcases her mastery of slow-burn tension, insightful exploration of power dynamics, and creation of exceptional performances. While the film may occasionally veer into theatricality, it ultimately establishes Domont as a director with a unique voice in the industry.
Domont’s perfectly calibrated script occasionally veers into the overly theatrical, its grand monologues and rigid back-and-forth dialogue not helped by the film’s limited and repetitive settings. However, her thrilling mastery of slow-burn tension, insightful examination of power dynamics in business and personal relationships, and creation of exceptional performances prove Domont to be a director with a singular voice.
“Fair Play” is not your typical romantic thriller; it’s a gripping exploration of love, ambition, and the complexities of life in a ruthless corporate world. With outstanding performances, a thought-provoking narrative, and a reflection on contemporary issues, Chloe Domont’s film stands as a must-watch. “Fair Play” hits theaters on September 29th and will be available on Netflix starting October 13th. Don’t miss this electrifying journey into the heart of passion and ambition, where love and power collide in the corporate jungle.