Fair Play proves to be a tough-throat comedy with the gloves off, according to Sundance

Fair Play proves to be a tough-throat comedy with the gloves off, according to Sundance ...

Fair Play is a hedge fund rom-com from Claire Domont, who takes on the elements of J C Chandor's Margin Call and pits Emily (Phoebe Dynevor) against her boyfriend Luke (Alden Ehrenreich) on the trading floor of One Crest Capital.

Analysts Emily and Luke are blissfully content crunching numbers and planning their wedding. The happy couple are hardworking, career-driven, and affluent. Adam proposes, before them both sneaking out of a side window into the night.

After the public meltdown of a top tier associate, Luke comes up with a promotion opportunity, which Luke wants so much he can taste it. Fair Play kicks things up a notch when it goes to Emily instead, and dynamics change.

Any professional equality that existed between this couple from that point on slowly wears out, as disgruntlement and jealousy begin to creep into their conversations. Engagement plans that had been discussed never get passed on to Luke's parents, while Emily's mother only makes things worse by planning some well-meaning engagement parties.

Emily remains hungry, achieves good results, and gradually professional demands start to overwhelm personal needs. Adam is now more concerned with matching his high-flying other half, working longer hours, and valuing advancement above quality time. A situation which only worsens as she continues to excel in the new position, rather than spend time with Luke and repair the rupture.

From this point on, Fair Play lives and breathes in a taut two-hander. Aided by a furiously understated turn from Marsan, the former really works hard to keep Emily from falling into her period drama arc.

Ehrenreich deliberately chews some scenery as Luke implodes threatening to take Emily with him as their relationship continues to depreciate and a domino effect ensues, but Fair Play offers up some standout moments of genuine desperation towards the end.

Although this may not be a breakthrough in the field, it does have some interesting points to say about the emasculating power of relationships. Ehrenreich and Dynevor are both excellent at putting on strong exchanges that stand out.

Campbell is the alpha male trader in any room, who terrorizes his underlings. This performance for an actor who excels at portraying soft-centered individuals who inherently follow rather than lead is a feat in proportion to any measure you choose.

When Marsan is onscreen, his presence is often seen in the shadows, almost secretly pulling strings like some Wall Street Svengali. Changing the outcome of a relationship which was irrevocably ruined due to his involvement, even though he was never directly responsible for the horrific emasculation perpetrated behind closed doors.

Fair Play may benefit from its other approach to gender empowerment, which subjugates expectations by seeing Emily strip away all of her femininity as she adopts the masculine traits of her coworkers, but this only leaves proceedings in an emotional deadlock in which everyone else wins.