The Sundance Film Festival works best when it is a launching pad for the next great wave of actors and directors. While the crowds in Park City, Utah always gather in droves to see the biggest names in cinema take on an indie role, there is nothing like witnessing a massive breakthrough.  Fair Play just so happens to be the glass shattering debut of the 2023 Sundance Film Festival.

It’s been a long time since I’ve watched a film with 3 absolutely flooring impressions. Writer and Director Chloe Domont creates a rollercoaster ride that is 110 minutes of masterclass thriller filmmaking. It may be the most surprising and exciting arrival since Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash in 2014.

Whiplash also debuted at Sundance and left audiences thrilled and emotionally spent, thanks in part to two incredible performances.

Much like Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons, Phoebe Dynevor (Bridgerton) and Alden Ehrenreich (Solo) give career defining and altering performances. The two play New York City hedge fund managers caught in a forbidden romance. Their relationship is hush hush as it is technically a violation of company policy. The opening scenes catch the two madly in love but as the film plays out and some experience highs while the other experiences lows, things begin to unravel.

As you delve further into their relationship, the film becomes a fascinating capsule of modern day gender roles and politics. The location of Wall Street and the financial backdrop create a chaotic, stressful setting that keeps the movie constantly engaging and intense. Think if Uncut Gems was a Romantic Thriller!

Domont pens a script that constantly challenges her actors but also the audience. The choices and situations thrust onto the the two leads create memorable scene after memorable scene.

Fair Play is an intense viewing experience but overall so much fun. It has two thrilling performances lifted even higher off the screen by an incredible script.

This could have easily been a film led by Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac, but instead it is two fresh faces giving Oscar-worthy performances that may put them on the map as the next Chastain and Isaac. Dynevor and Ehrenreich show unbelievable range and the final scene will leave you breathless and blown away.

Fair Play has been the most fun I have had at any Sundance screening. On Monday, Netflix purchased the film for $20 million. A massive haul for an Independent film in today’s times. But it means audiences will be able to see this film soon. Will it be for everyone? Perhaps not, but if you are looking for an intense thriller that will make your heart race, this is the movie for you.

Fair Play
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Nathan McVay
Nathan is one of HeyUGuys' US correspondents and loves movies. You'll find him at Sundance Film Festival on an annual basis watching and reviewing movies before most others.
fair-play-reviewA complete triumph - the biggest and best debut of Sundance 2023 so far. With two pitch perfect performances this is an intense thriller that will make your heart race, and your blood rush.