Arriving on Apple TV+ today, following a one-week run in select US cinemas last week, is the psychological thriller, Sharper. The movie – directed by Benjamin Caron – stars Justice Smith, Briana Middleton, Sebastian Stan, Julianne Moore, and John Lithgow, and follows the lives of five characters who become involved in a story of deception.
Told through five interconnected vignettes, the film revolves around Tom, Sandra, Max, Madeline, and Richard. Tom is a book store owner, Sandra is a student, Max is a silver-tongued young man, Madeline is a wife, and Richard is a billionaire.
Each of the characters share a connection – although not all of them know it – and each of them become part of a con trick. The con starts small and grows as the story develops, with every new vignette filling in additional details about the characters, their lives, and their connection to each other.
To say any more about the story, or to provide an in-depth plot synopsis would rob this film of some of its impact. Sharper works best when you know very little about it, so the story can take you on a journey, with all the twists and turns it presents.
All you really need to know is that Sharper is a smart, engrossing picture, which grabs your attention quite quickly and keeps you invested. This is a sharply written, wicked little film, which has the ability to get under the skin and make you reconsider what you know and who you trust.
At the centre of the picture are five superb performances from Smith, Middleton, Stan, Moore, and Lithgow. These actors really throw themselves into the story and their roles, and this gives Sharper sturdy foundations to hang its story on.
Stan and Moore are particularly strong in this film, and know just how to lean into the material. They bring a coldness to the screen, which really fits the tone of the movie, and they command every scene they are in.
Backing them up is a slick script, which has all its ‘I’s and ‘T’s dotted and crossed in the right places, as well as some fine direction from Benjamin Caron. The whole picture is a puzzle, which has been carefully constructed, with various parts all moving at the same time, and Caron manages to balance it all without turning Sharper into a jumbled mess.
Where the film struggles a little is in its finale, which isn’t quite as interesting as all the set-up, and maybe not quite as clever as it wants to be. Once you’ve grasped the overall vibe of the film, and the motivations of its characters, it isn’t too difficult to predict where it is all heading.
However, even if the climax is a bit obvious, and the story does lose a little momentum as it heads to the finish line, it still works perfectly fine. Sharper builds up enough investment to keep things going, and provides ample entertainment too.
Sharper is a tightly written film, which has a lot going for it. The movie certainly keeps your interest for the majority of its two-hour runtime and it serves up something intriguing along the way.
Those looking for something to sink their teeth into this weekend should certainly take a look. Sharper is good stuff, with good performances, which is pretty much what everyone wants, right?
Thank you for taking the time to read this review on It’s A Stampede!. For more reviews, check out the recommended reads below.
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