Fair Play (2023) Review – A compulsive and intense erotic thriller for the modern age

By Eamon Hennedy
Published: October 3, 2023 (Last updated: October 7, 2023)
Fair Play (2023) Review - Netflix Movie


A nervy and uncomfortable piece of work, Fair Play is a complex reworking of many erotic thriller tropes.

Chloe Domont’s Fair Play represents another step on the comeback ladder for the erotic thriller, and we dive into the 2023 movie with this official review with no spoilers. Once the domain of both big-budget star-laden films such as Basic Instinct, not to mention straight-to-video fodder, an awareness of shifting gender lines has seen the genre inch its way back to mainstream screens.

With an intense screenplay from Domont and magnificent central performances from Phoebe Dynevor and Alden Ehrenreich, the film might provoke many a debate with those who watch it upon its premiere on Netflix.

Fair Play Review and Plot Summary

The film introduces the audience to its main couple, Emily (Dynevor) and Luke (Ehrenreich), whose romance at first glance appears intense and deeply physical. They live together and get engaged in the early moments of the story, but working for the same hedge fund company means they have to keep their relationship a secret.

When Emily is promoted to a position that Luke desperately wants for himself, their relationship is tested to the extremes.

Having previously worked on television shows such as Billions and Suits, there is a classy yet encroaching aura of dread in how Fair Play captures the inner workings of Wall Street and a hedge fund-obsessed office setting. Status and career are the defining goals.

The earlier moments portray the intensity of the central relationship in a way that could never have been captured by a male director, instantly making this feel different from previous films in the genre.

READ: Little Birds Review

Having said that, you can tell Domont knows the genre and yet is unafraid of taking it in directions that previously well-known films (Fatal Attraction, Basic Instinct) shied away from.

Fair Play shows a clear willingness to portray the sexual desire of its lead characters as well as how their career paths can set them at war with each other. As the film continues, it asks some deep and dark questions.

While it knows full well that it has two very good-looking stars acting it out and clearly isn’t afraid to show the main characters in a sexual way, when it comes to the third act, it knows how to sidestep obvious third-act hysterics into something more challenging than anything Joe Eztherhaz or Adrian Lyne would have explored.

Fair Play offers a dark and complex erotic thriller

On the surface, Fair Play may look as if it’s going to be the type of film that was once the hallmark of many Hollywood thrillers, usually written by Joe Eztherhas. Instead, Chloe Domont delivers something that goes beyond the realm of the standard erotic thriller.

There’s a clear love of the genre infused throughout, but it also wants to get into the gutter with regard to the power dynamics of a male/female relationship both in the bedroom and in an office setting. Anyone wanting a typical thriller may be left feeling cold, but for those wanting something more tense and complex, not to mention uncomfortable, Fair Play is the film for you.

What did you think of the 2023 Netflix movie Fair Play? Comment below.

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