Sharper Review: A Tense and Taut Thriller.

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Stories, where you don’t know who’s the good guy and who’s the bad guy till the end, are some of the most interesting stories, which I enjoy a lot. If the screenplay can keep you guessing till the end, then it has done a good job. Sharper is one such character-focused con thriller. AppleTV+ brings to us a slow-burn neo-noir thriller where you cannot trust anyone. Sharper stars Julianne Moore, Sebastian Stan, Justice Smith, Briana Middleton, and John Lithgow, and is directed by Benjamin Caron.

The official synopsis says, “No one is who they seem in Sharper, a neo-noir thriller of secrets and lies, set amongst New York City’s bedrooms, barrooms, and boardrooms. Characters compete for riches and power in a high-stakes game of ambition, greed, lust and jealousy that will keep audiences guessing until the final moment.” Character-driven neo-noirs are a rarity in today’s time, and the synopsis instantly got me intrigued to check it out.

Briana Middleton and Justice Smith in “Sharper,” premiering February 17, 2023 on Apple TV+.

We start the first chapter with a focus on Justice Smith’s character Tom. He is an innocent bookstore manager who falls for Sandra (Briana Middleton). The first chapter mostly follows the romance between the two and has a fairly light tone. But then as we move into the next chapter, things totally turn on their head and we start to understand what might be happening. We get a chapter focusing on every character where we can see things from their perspective and also get a little backstory on them. The film switches back from past to present continuously but doesn’t make it difficult to follow.

There is a certain panache to the way the screenplay handles its twists, which makes them extremely effective. The tone is also very consistent and creates an ominous atmosphere that enriches the journey. The structure of the story makes sure that the viewer isn’t able to guess everything and maintains the unpredictability factor throughout. The supporting characters don’t get a lot of screen time but are still relevant to our plot at all times.

Sebastian Stan, Julianne Moore and John Lithgow in “Sharper,” premiering February 17, 2023 on Apple TV+.

Everyone in the lead cast does well in terms of their performance, so there wasn’t really a clear standout within them. Benjamin Caron also does a good job in his feature debut. The score is also a highlight and fits well with the narrative. The distinctive storytelling never feels odd once you are sucked into the story and everything flows smoothly from there. The color grading also seemed like a good fit. The story is a slow burn, so there are pacing issues and it might seem dull in a few parts, especially in the second half.

The film shows a lot of potential with its story, setting up high expectations, especially with so many interesting characters all with shades of grey in them. But the ending might feel a little underwhelming for some. I was expecting a better ending to this intense journey. It’s not necessarily a bad one, just not one that blew my mind or amazed me. But when it ended, I still felt like it was a refreshing product in its own way and a good investment of my time.

John Lithgow and Julianne Moore in “Sharper,” premiering February 17, 2023 on Apple TV+.

Sharper is a taut and tense thriller with classy performances and distinctive storytelling. The story does not fulfill the potential that it promises but has enough strengths to make it worth your while. It is a twisted story of greed, betrayal and revenge. It has enough glamour to cover its lack of pace while the tone and the characters maintain intrigue. People who enjoy twisted thrillers will enjoy this one.

Rating – 70%

Sharper will stream on AppleTV+ from February 17.

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Kevin V

Just a passionate Movie and TV show enthusiast who loves binging.
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Kevin V

Kevin V

Just a passionate Movie and TV show enthusiast who loves binging.

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