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The Tinder Swindler (2022)

The Tinder Swindler (2022)

A fascinating true-crime rabbit hole aiming at the heart of dating app users



United Kingdom, United States of America
Crime, Documentary
Ayleen Charlotte, Cecilie Fjellhøy, Erlend Ofte Arntsen
114 min


Surprisingly, this is one of the films that that make you go from "Women..." to "Women!!!"

What it's about

First it starts with a Tinder notification, then the love story grows into something much darker: in this Netflix crime documentary the women it happened to tell all.

The take

Even if the overall message screams "Girl power!", The Tinder Swindler must be taken with a pinch of salt. Yes, it's perversely entertaining to witness the victims of an emotional and financial scam retell their traumatic experience. Yes, whoever decides to watch a true crime probably knows the genre's highs and lows by heart. And yes, there's an unsettling feeling that sticks to you after the film's finished. All these contradictions make up a powerful, perhaps misunderstood film. There's so much more to be said about how both women and men are victims of the patriarchal order in a different way and this is why such a scam can work without a hitch, but maybe that's better left off screen. I want to flag that the documentary decisively brackets Tinder's role in facilitating these crimes in the first place. It is at once a platform that allows specific targeting and false identities. One begins to wonder whether this decision allowed Netflix to use the company's name and interface in the first place...

What stands out

This may be producer Felicity Morris's first writer-director credit, but boy does she earn it. It takes a seasoned storyteller to turn a horrendous–and repetitive—scenario into good true crime cinema and with the help of her crew, mostly in the editing department, Morris does a splendid job. Firstly, the structure embeds all the suspense from an investigative drama into the womens' own testimonies in front of the camera in very subtle ways. It does guide you in ever-growing spirals towards a big reveal and the satisfaction that goes with it is a marker of a job well done. Good writing plus good stories equal good true crime: simple, but effective.


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