Don Reviews "Sharper"
I am going to be blunt here: I can’t stand a thief! I feel so strongly about this that it may explain why I enjoy my current employment recent career path. I do not understand how people can steal people’s life savings by targeting the vulnerable and even worse end up getting off with what amounts to a slap on the wrist (assuming they get caught). Hollywood doesn’t seem to help with films like the Ocean’s series and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, so you can imagine how I felt going into Sharper.
Directed by Benjamin Caron (The Crown), the cast of Justice Smith, Briana Middleton, Sebastian Stan, Julianna Moore and John Lithgow tell the story of Tom (Smith), the owner of a rare books store who has a strained relationship with his billionaire father, Richard (Lithgow). Three con artists led by Max (Stan) alongside Sandra (Middleton) and Madeline (Moore) all try to get what Tom and Richard have from different angles in a story that is so complex that it gives the above mentioned Ocean’s films a run for their money, pun intended.
This film is not as well-lit as others I have seen, but it did fit the mood well; that being established, I really would like to focus on the cast and storytelling here. There are a few minor roles, but the film basically has five characters: Lithgow, who does fine, but Moore really does well in being able to change emotions in a heartbeat like a good con can do. Stan, who is mostly known for his role as “The Winter Soldier” in the MCU, is incredible channeling the dark side of his character that reminded me of Jake Gyllenhaal in Nightcrawler while Middleton and Smith contribute very well as the leads truly showing the emotion of the situation they are in to the point where I actually felt badly for Tom.
Given the type of film that this is, twists and turns are expected but does so in a way that is easily followed with devices like letting the audience know whom the story is following and when. This is especially effective when learning each character’s back story and motivations in the larger narrative, keeping the confusion to a minimum. There is also very little telegraphing of what is coming next here, which I really appreciated even to the point that I was only able to catch on less than a minute before some of the reveals myself. The other thing I liked here is how there is even a peek into the psyche of certain characters to truly show the layers of why they are involved in this plot to begin with, which is more than just the back story I mentioned earlier in some cases. The ending itself is one that has divided some critics, but I lie on the side of those that found it pretty great, so I will definitely recommend Sharper as a twilight showing in a theater.