Chloe Domont explains the unsettling final scene in ‘Fair Play’
(Credit: Netflix)


Chloe Domont explains the unsettling final scene in ‘Fair Play’

Chloe Domont’s psychological thriller Fair Play was one of the most sensational releases of 2023. Her directorial debut featured stunningly taut performances from the main cast, which included Phoebe Dynevor, Alden Ehrenreich, and Eddie Marsan.

The film follows Emily Meyers (Dynevor) and Luke Edmunds (Ehrenreich), who are in a clandestine relationship. They work for a cutthroat Manhattan hedge fund as analysts, and a sudden promotion for Emily threatens their relationship. As Luke’s ego shatters bit by bit, the life they have built together in well-crafted secrecy unravels just as manifestly as Luke’s fragile masculinity. 

Domont begins the film with Emily and Luke having a secret rendezvous in a bathroom at a family event. The steamy moment comes to a bloody halt when they realise Emily is on her period. However, instead of acting disgusted, Luke handles the situation incredibly well, and the scene even ends on a sweet note for the couple as Luke goes down on one knee to propose. Of course, this is no charming romcom. The blood is an indication of all the gory things to follow.

Domont explained why this beginning is essential. She told Tudum, “You [have to] fall in love with the characters during the proposal. And I thought, ‘What’s the most ridiculous way they could get engaged that makes you adore them?’ For me, it was by covering them in blood. It makes them charmingly dysfunctional and messy and human in a somewhat outlandish way that also grabs the audience by the throat. And then, of course, the blood also tells them, ‘Don’t get too comfortable.’ I thought the foreshadowing of the violence to come was just as important.”

The entire film plays out between this bloody scene and the last one—which involves Luke’s blood being shed instead of Emily’s. While hers is a shedding marked by nonviolence, his is drawn in accordance with accountability.

Enraged at Luke’s denial of his abuse towards her, Emily cuts him with a knife, making him beg for forgiveness but acknowledgement above all. For Domont, the true significance of the movie lies in that concluding scene, “While there are elements of female rage, the last scene is not about female revenge, it’s about holding a man accountable and getting him to face his own inferiority,” she explains. “Luke’s inability to own up to that causes both of them so much pain and so much destruction. For me, the whole film really builds up to the moment when Emily finally gets Luke to acknowledge his own failure and his own weakness, when he finally mutters the words ‘I’m nothing’—because more than being a film about female empowerment, this is really a film about male fragility.”

You can watch Chloe Domont’s deviously delicious Fair Play on Netflix.