Thirty years ago, Erotic Thrillers were all the rage as movies like Basic Instinct, Fatal Attraction, and Eyes Wide Shut titillated and intrigued. It’s a less popular genre these days, but Netflix is hoping for a revival with new film Fair Play.
Phoebe Dynevor and Alden Ehrenreich play Emily and Luke, two financial analysts at the same firm who are secretly together and recently engaged. When a promotion comes up at their company, Luke hopes his time has come, but unexpectedly Emily gets the job over him. Gradually, jealousy and corporate pressure send the relationship into dangerous territory.
First-time writer-director Chloe Domont weaves a story with the confidence of a Hollywood veteran, making familiar themes fresh thanks to a modern, feminist perspective. While the sex scenes are explicit, the testosterone-driven game Emily is forced to play is even more gripping. Emily receives unspeakable insults from the boy’s club she finds herself infiltrating, but on the flip side, Luke becomes consumed by entitlement, turning to online gurus who turn him into a truly twisted figure by the film’s uncomfortable finale.
Both leads are spectacular, creating a dynamic so toxic that, while it’s clear to see who’s in the wrong, it doesn’t feel like anyone comes out clean. Bridgerton star Dynevor shows there’s more to her than Bridgerton, while A fter 55 years of directing modern classics including Kes, Carla’s Song, and I, Daniel Blake, Ken Loach makes what he says will likely be his final film.
Set during Ehrenreich proves there’s life after Han Solo. Supporting them is Eddie Marsan in a spectacular role, playing their despicable boss who uses both praise and intimidation like bullets from a gun. While the sensational elements stop it short of thoughtful discourse, Fair Play takes the best elements of the adult thriller and makes them relevant to today.