“Sharper,” Starring Julianne Moore, Trips as It Gorges on Twists

The film now streams on Apple TV+.

With Apple TV+’s Sharper, writers Brian Gatewood and Alessandra Tanaka (The Sitter) turn in an edge-of-your-seat thriller that looks every bit the part, but looks can be deceiving.

Sharper opens on a title card introducing the first of four main characters, Tom (Justice Smith), an unassuming young man who’s secretly the son of a billionaire (John Lithgow). He initially meets “Sandra” (Briana Middleton) when she happens into his empty New York bookstore searching for a first edition of Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God.

It’s an inspired choice that intrigues him into boldly asking her out, thus sparking a romance so perfect it can clearly go in only one direction. This is when a violent knock at the door interrupts their lovers’ bliss, kicking off a series of lies and schemes that meticulously introduce each player in the con through their own perspective.

The earnest performances (the cast also includes Julianne Moore and Sebastian Stan) pull off the nonlinear storytelling and motivational shifts, though the convoluted weaving together of reveals makes it impossible to relate due to the constant ambiguity. Sharper gorges on twists so much it winds up tripping its way to the end, albeit without ever falling flat on its face due to the talented cast and just enough authentic “gotcha” moments.

SEE IT: Sharper, rated R, streams on Apple TV+.

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