Whenever Apple TV comes out with a new series or movie, you know it will be absolutely top-notch. At least in most cases. In a rare miss, Sharper, is a little most blunt than the trailer suggests.
But before we get into the issues with the film, let's take a more in depth look at what Sharper is all about before we decide if it is worth watching.
What Is Sharper About?
Sharper is a movie that centres around five characters. Central to them all is Richard Hobbes (John Lithgow), a billionaire with a terminal illness.
We then have his new wife, Madeline (Julianne Moore), and her son Max (Sebastian Stan), Richard's son Tom (Justice Smith), and his girlfriend Sandra (Briana Middleton).
The story of Sharper is told initially through four pieces, each detailing the life of one of the characters. For example, how Tom met Sandra or how Sandra met Max etc…
And while it quickly becomes clear that the object is to get Richard's billions when he dies, it takes around an hour for us to all understand how all the players fit in.
At this point, the overall plot of the movie is revealed. It's a con within a con, within a con. And for that, you need a con artist. Or two.
So who is playing who? What do each of them know, and who will ultimately join the elite group of Manhattan billionaires?
Sharper Official Trailer
Is Sharper Worth Watching?
Brought to screen by english director Benjamin Caron and written by Brian Gatewood and Alessandro Tanaka, Sharper has all the makings of a sleek and clever thriller.
The cast is excellent, the premise is clever, and the characters are defined enough that you clearly root for some and hope for the demise of others.
However, there are also quite a few problems. Firstly, the trailer promises John Lithgow, and if you are hoping for him to play a significant role, then you will be sorely disappointed.
What you see in the trailer is almost the full extent of his involvement. The movie is about his money rather than him.
The second problem is that once you figure out the first con artist, any further cons become very obvious, almost ruining the film.
It is filmed almost perpetually in dim lighting, with most characters never stepping foot outside in broad daylight. Even the bookshop looks like it's been lit by candlelight. I'm sure it was supposed to create an atmosphere; instead, it feels claustrophobic.
And then we have that ending. Sure, it's wrapped up in a lovely bow and the audience gets the ending they were rooting for, but it is incredibly contrived and is summarised via about 30 seconds of flashbacks.
So while it is complete and you're not left hanging, it's also a little deflated and lacking of any real drama that could categorise it as a thriller.
So is Sharper on Apple TV worth watching? It passes the time, but just when you're promised something great, it screeches to a half and simply plods along until the end.
Sharper Movie Cast
Julianne Moore as Madeline, the new wife of a dying billionaire
Sebastian Stan as Max, Madeline's son and con artist
Justice Smith as Tom, Richard's son who owns a book shop
Briana Middleton as Sandra, Tom's new girlfriend
Darren Goldstein as Goldie, Max's friend and fellow con artist
John Lithgow (The Old Man) as Richard Hobbes – a fifth avenue Billionaire who is disappointed by his son's life choices
Phillip Johnson Richardson as Detective Collins who investigates when con artists take Tom's money
Kerry Flanagan as Larusso
David Pittu as Davi, the Hobbes family lawyer
Quincy Dunn-Baker as William Tyler
Hannah Dunne as Brenda
Giullian Yao Gioiello as Jack
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