It’s hard to see Fair Play playing well in a theatrical much less streaming setting. It’s a sex thriller with no thrills and very little sex. What’s on display is more revenge fucking than erotic cinema.
We’re a long way from the risqué territory mined by 9½ Weeks much less Zalman King cable softcore.
Sometimes you wonder who’s running the store. Fair Play opens in select theaters Friday, September 29, followed by a streaming debut on Netflix on Friday, October 6th.
Fair Play takes two contempo ingenues, Alden Ehrenreich and Phoebe Dynevor, and tries hard to make their love-hate sadistic-masochistic relation work in sophisticated cinematic terms. At least Ehrenreich can say that Solo is no longer his worst movie.
Fair Play takes place in a Wall Street hedge fund setting. You’re not expected to grasp everything that’s happening, yet for this kind of movie that’s not enough. Other movies like Margin Call, Wall Street, even Wolf of Wall Street along with The Big Short made narrative sense of the financial algorithm spine that nobody understands anyway.
In Fair Play it’s a bunch of people sitting in front of computers and once in a while one of them goes ape shit and smashes things. Eddie Marsan is wasted in the role of the boss although he brings a passive aggressive gravity in his few scenes. The main thrust of a battle of the sexes defined by workplace competition gets taken down with unexciting sex scenes.
Fair Play piles melodramatic exposition on top of bad copulatory attempts. This couple, who incidentally are living together despite a company policy against romance among employees, are seemingly unable to have actual good sex. They’ve just announced their engagement.
Dynevor gets a promotion that further estranges the relationship. After landing a huge investment she gets a bonus check in excess of a half-million dollars. At that point I was begging her to move to a hotel and end this useless romance.