'The Tinder Swindler' Review: It's a perfect match for a crime junkie
For someone who grew up believing in Disney fairy tales, Cecilie Fjellhoy felt like she'd found her prince. Simon Leviev, her new Tinder match, seemed to possess all the qualities of one and even called himself the Prince of Diamonds.
Pernilla Sjoholm took it a step further and started calling him a prince after getting to witness and be a part of his luxurious lifestyle. Ayleen Charlotte thought she had met the love of her life and was making arrangements to settle down with Simon. Simon, however, had other plans in store for these women. Their fault? They believed him. His mistake? He underestimated them.
'The Tinder Swindler', Netflix's latest true-crime documentary, is yet another impressive addition to the streaming giant's mindblowing catalog of non-fiction content. The 114 minute-long film is a gripping and jaw-dropping account of how three women were conned by Simon Leviev aka Shimon Hayut and follows their attempts to bring him down. It shocks you on multiple occasions and has all the necessary ingredients of a racy thriller that could rake in high numbers at the box office if adapted.
Felicity Morris, known for making the mindboggling 'Don't F**k With Cats: Hunting an Internet Killer,' doesn't take long to get the viewer involved in the plot. By the 7-minute mark, we're already in Cecilie's world. The Norwegian woman was the first one to come out against Hayut. The latter left her contemplating suicide after making her incur massive debts.
The linear approach makes it a whole lot easier to grasp what's happening as we transition from Cecilie to Pernilla, the second person to come out against Hayut. The Swedish woman was robbed of her savings and banded with Cecilie and Verdens Gang, even taking part in a risky expose that made the world aware of the Israeli conman. The last one to join the hunting party is Ayleen Charlotte. The Amsterdam native was in a relationship with Hayut for over 14 months and had loaned him $140,000 during the span of the relationship. It was only after the VG story landed on her phone that she found out that her boyfriend was The Tinder Swindler.
Moving at breakneck speed, the documentary turns into a revenge saga in the second half. 'The Tinder Swindler' feels more like a crime drama and with a background score that complements the narrative and top-notch cinematography, it's almost impossible to take your eyes off the screen. The editing pattern amplifies the intensity of the screenplay. Special mentions for splicing footage of Hayut holidaying, eating out, and partying with the call recordings asking Cecilie for money. What a genius move!
It's also gratifying to see the Verdens Gang journalists who were instrumental in breaking the news to the world. Sadly, we don't get a completely satisfying ending but the documentary does compound the efforts of the victims and the journalists. We also get to see the misogynistic and victim-blaming side of the Internet. Nevertheless, this gobsmacking story of cons is all pros.
'The Tinder Swindler' is currently streaming on Netflix