The Stream: There are some obvious twists that aren’t as mind-blowing as the movie thinks they are.
The Big Screen: Tensions and intrigue keep the audience guessing until the end.
The Final Bill: A good psychological thriller that has enough twists and turns to keep the audience engaged.– Trip Fontaine
Director: Benjamin Caron
Writers: Brian Gatewood and Alessandro Tanaka
Stars: Justice Smith, Briana Middleton, Sebastian Stan, Julianne Moore, John Lithgow
Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller
Rating: R for language throughout and some sexual references.
Runtime: 1 hour 56 minutes
Production Companies: A24, Apple TV+, Picturestart
Platform: Apple TV+ released on February 17, 2023
Hey, Streamers! Since Ant-Man and the Wasp have taken over the theaters, maybe you just want to chill at home and catch up on some streaming options. No more half-baked romantic comedies for you. You want something grittier. Well, Apple TV+ released a psychological thriller, Sharper, that may fulfill your need for something dark and twisty. Here’s whether it will bring the thrills you seek.
The plot of Sharper is hard to explain without getting into spoiler territory, so I’ll try to avoid being too specific. It is told in chapters focused on various different characters. These different characters interact with each other in unexpected ways and cause unforeseen consequences. There is a young bookstore owner, Tom (Justice Smith), who meets an intriguing young woman, Sandra (Briana Middleton). They have a burgeoning romance that hits a snag. There is also Max (Sebatian Stan), Madeline (Julianne Moore), and Richard (John Lithgow), who get tangled up with each other. I know that’s very vague, but it has to be for this kind of movie. Dark and twisty hijinks ensue.
For a psychological thriller to work, it has to be complicated enough to be surprising without being too clever for its own good. The movie has to keep the audience guessing while not losing their interest. I think Sharper is successful in both ways. The characters are well-drawn and their interactions make sense overall. Once some hints are dropped, it is easy for the audience to follow the turns. Each additional bit of information that is given is able to draw you in until the movie reaches its climax. There is a noirish quality to this movie that makes it feel stylish and cool.
While most of the story is successful, there are points that seem obvious. There are certain revelations about one character that seems very clear from the start. If the filmmakers wanted that to be a mind-blowing reveal, it is not that. Also, there is a very strange dance scene that is just awkward. It made me a little embarrassed for the actors.
I will say that I liked Justice Smith in this. He hasn’t had many lead roles, but he does perfectly good work her. Julianne Moore is usually good, and she gives it her best shot. I think that Sebastian Stan is in danger of being typecast. I feel like he always plays a character like Max. He needs to do some more diverse roles or it’s going to be a very boring trajectory for the rest of his career.
Ultimately, Sharper is an intriguing movie with interesting twists and turns. It is able to keep the audience engaged and guessing until the end. The cast is generally good, especially Justice Smith and Julianne Moore. If you like a psychological thriller, this one is worth at least a bowl of popcorn for a night in streaming.