Fair Play is the directorial debut of Chloe Domont, and it stars Phoebe Dynevor and Alden Ehrenreich as well as Eddie Marsan. Dynevor plays a hedge fund researcher who gets a promotion over her partner (Ehrenreich), and his insecurities plague their secret relationship.
Fair Play is forty-five minutes of relatively interesting drama that plays with ideas about sexual dynamics and male fragility. The film spends a fair amount of time exploring the couple’s sexual relationship with one opening scene that may be divisive. After Ehrenreich’s character loses the promotion, his over-reliance on gender norms and his fragile ego become the dominant aspects of his character and the film’s drama. Dynevor plays her character’s attempts to coddle her partner’s insecurities well, but these elements run out of steam as the film crosses its midpoint.
Ultimately, the film devolves into cliches, some cringe acting, and farcical character choices. The actors are doing the best they can with a script that demands they scream obscenities at each other, but the whole exercise is sound and fury that signifies nothing. The last hour and fifteen minutes of the film parades the most obvious accusations and recriminations, even though so much of what comes up in all these arguments has so little basis in what we see of these people in the first act.
This is the worst of what Netflix and the streaming revolution has done to movies because Fair Play is lurid and interesting enough to get subscribers to click, but the film is unable to sustain anything compelling for the entirety of its runtime.