SHARPER on Apple TV+ is a new thriller with an amazing cast. The story is told by sharing the story of each main character. This works really well. Unfortunately, the ending isn’t as strong as the rest. It goes just a few steps too far. Read our full Sharper movie review here!
SHARPER is a new Apple TV+ thriller feature film with a runtime of almost two hours. Fortunately, there’s enough storyline to carry this runtime. It’s a very character-driven movie with an amazing cast, so hopefully, you’ll also be happy with the runtime. The one thing that didn’t work as well for me was the final few twists in the tale.
As a whole, however, this new movie is visually gorgeous, has a stellar cast, an engaging storyline, and a lot of surprises along the way. I can easily recommend it despite my grievances with the actual ending.
Continue reading our Sharper movie review below. Find the thriller on Apple TV+ from February 17, 2023.
A con artist going after billionaires
With a plot description that is basically “A con artist is targeting billionaires”, it’s easy to know that you’ll be rooting for the con artist. To some degree, anyway. Or maybe that’s just me?! In fact, I’m often partial to con artists when they go after people who make grotesque amounts of money by doing “legal cons” – as in anything a lawyer can get you out of.
In Sharper, we also see other corrupt people being conned and I can live with that. However, I am not going to feel sorry because someone who refuses to grow up – and takes no responsibility for their own life – isn’t just handed everything on a silver platter.
If someone has to “settle” with never having to worry about money and can “work” doing what they love with no risk or consequence, then my sympathy for them (especially in terms of finances) is pretty much non-existent.
The five core characters
In Sharper, we have five core characters with John Lithgow’s billionaire character, Richard Hobbs, being the one with the least screen time. He’s not someone we really follow, but John Lithgow is good in every scene. Of course. Sharing most scenes with him is Julianne Moore (The Woman in the Window) as Madeleine. And yes, Julianne Moore is amazing – as always.
Before we ever meet her, however, we’re introduced to the two people who are probably the two main characters. There’s Justice Smith as Tom, a bookshop manager, and Briana Middleton as Sandra, a student. There’s a whole meet-cute scene which happens mostly from Tom’s point-of-view. Next, we get a closer look at Sandra’s POV.
This is how the whole story is told – not unlike the Kaleidoscope Netflix series – and it works really well.
As a huge part of Sandra’s story, we see Sebastian Stan as Max. I tend to like him in everything he does and Sharper is no exception. His character is interesting and makes me curious – which, to be fair, can be said about all the characters. In strange ways, his Sharper character is both similar to, and very different from, his Fresh character!
The ending of Sharper on Apple TV+
A good ending can help an okay movie turn into a really good experience, but on the other end of that, you have the opposite, which is what I experienced with Sharper on Apple TV+. It’s a really good movie with an okay ending, and this is never a good thing.
The ending of Sharper isn’t bad. I wouldn’t go that far. It just did not work for me.
And, sure, you may guess a few of the twists and turns of the ending along the way. But that’s okay. This is a movie about con artists, so you expect twists here, there, and everywhere. For me, it took everything a few steps too far.
I sat back and knew that another twist was coming. Look at the runtime and when things happen and you’ll know that it isn’t as simple as it looks. Unfortunately, there’s no “thrill and drama” when you just wait for the other shoe to drop. Maybe even having a pretty good idea of what that will entail.
This made the overall story go from surprising and interesting to almost being disengaging. Instead of feeling my pulse quicken because I know some crazy twist will come, I felt almost numb because I did not find the direction of the story believable.
But hey, maybe you will love it. And if you do, then more power to you. I was just disappointed with the Sharper ending because I had enjoyed it so much up until that point.
Watch Sharper on Apple TV+ now!
Benjamin Caron is the director of Sharper, which is quite different from most of his other projects. He has been working mostly on TV series – including Andor and The Crown – and Branagh Theatre Live. The latter is live recordings of plays which is an art form in itself.
And I can see why someone drawn to series and theater liked this movie. The character-based and very observer-focused storyline of this thriller could easily have made a good series or play on a stage.
The screenplay for this Apple TV+ movie comes from Brian Gatewood and Alessandro Tanaka. The two also co-wrote the 2011 comedy The Sitter which was directed by David Gordon Green. Yes, the very same man who directed the recently finished Halloween requel trilogy. The two also created the TV series Comrade Detective and Animal Practice.
While I certainly didn’t love the ending – I just was not rooting for one of the people who end up on top – I did enjoy the movie as a whole. It’s smart and entertaining which certainly always makes for a good time.
Sharper premiered in select theaters on February 10, and on Apple TV+ on February 17, 2023.
Director: Benjamin Caron
Writers: Brian Gatewood, Alessandro Tanaka
Cast: Julianne Moore, Sebastian Stan, Justice Smith, Briana Middleton, Darren Goldstein, John Lithgow
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.