A millennial trendy antiquarian bookdealer meets cute a pretty young girl and starts a love affair unreasonably quickly. So begins a tricksy, slippery, addictive, knowingly post-modern thriller.
Sadly, reader, I'm not here to tell you about Netflix' smash hit TV serial killer show You. Rather, I am here to tell you about Benjamin Caron's distinctly mediocre crime "thriller", SHARPER.
The bookseller is an earnest trust fund kid called Tom (Justice Smith) and the girl is Sandy (Briana Middleton). She needs a bunch of money to get rid of a personal entanglement, he hands it over, she leaves, he falls into a broken-hearted depression. So ends the first act of this film. We then move back to Sandy's story, and this is a film about con artists so you get the play here. She is being groomed to the con by Sebastian Stan's charming psychopath Max, and he's apparently into another, bigger con, as his mother (Julianne Moore) is handily dating a billionaire (John Lithgow).
It's hard to say much about how and why this film doesn't work without ruining the plot. That said, if you watch a lot of thrillers or read a lot of detective fiction, you'll probably figure it out half way through as I did. Once that happens, it's just tab A into slot B to the end.
My issue with the film is that it doesn't have the ambition to do anything visually interesting or to make any social commentary or to interrogate the concept of the con. This is a very basic film once you get beyond the four part character-led structure. With all that plutocratic wealth on show, and all the sheen, one might expect more satire, or more wit. But no. This is rather basic. And the sum is less than its parts.
SHARPER is rated R and has a running time of 116 minutes. It is available to stream on Apple TV.