Fair Play (2023)

Fair Play (2023) Cover

Be prepared to enter the most toxic work environment in Fair Play, a unique thrilling narrative featuring two of the best performances of the year, but is sometimes a hard pill to swallow. Fair Play will play in theaters for one week starting Friday, September 29, and will be released on Netflix on Friday, October 6th.

Co-workers (as well as secret lovers) Emily and Luke continuously fail to prevent their extremely dramatic work lives (as portfolio managers in a cutthroat finance firm) from affecting their fragile against-work-policy relationship. Circumstances become heated when Emily receives a coveted promotion. Will Emily be able to persuade her boss to promote Luke to the same level that she is at? Can the duo keep their prohibited relationship under wraps?  And how will the circumstances intensify as the volatile work atmosphere puts a frightening amount of pressure on our couple?

Perhaps it’s because I work in Education (where co-workers are mostly civil with one another), but I was flabbergasted with how verbally abusive every single employee in this hedge firm treated one another. Everyone is out for their own interests and are allowed to use harsh language towards each other seemingly with no consequences. While this may be a true reality, it seemed too extreme to be accurate and seemed to be occurring merely for a shock/attention-getting factor; despite coming off a little phony to me, the dialogue the characters share with each other was alarmingly effective and did sustain my intrigue. There’s an F word tossed around every 10-20 seconds and it was so excessive I had the thought, “Do these educated finance experts have no other way to express themselves?” Perhaps that level of language was needed to have the visceral fierce effect first time feature director and writer Chloe Domont was seeking and (while effective) I am curious how the film would’ve played out with the characters using alternative language other than that “F” word (it’s not as excessive but it’s up there with 2019’s film, Uncut Gems)

Besides the workplace feeling too outrageous, the film has two of my favorite performances of the year; Phoebe Dynevor and Alden Ehrenreich, as Emily and Luke respectively, have terrific chemistry and I truly felt empathy when conflict begins to build. The audience will feel the tension build as Emily learns of harsh truths her boss carries regarding Luke and the pair try to avoid conflict until a combustion of harshness slowly begins to form as the duo are treated differently from various employees at their jobs. 

The unique narrative was both intriguing and quick paced. Despite needing to use the restroom, I felt like there was never an opportune time to take a restroom break due to the film consistently introducing fascinating facets of anxious tension; it never felt sluggish. The film is extremely entertaining, thrilling, and should hold most people’s attention.

Final Verdict:A unique thrilling narrative featuring two of the best performances of the year; however, the story is sometimes a hard pill to swallow.