The Tinder Swindler
This shocking real life true crime story documents the shameless fraud committed by the apparent "Diamond Prince" Simon Leviev and gives a stark warning about the dangers of online-dating. Created by the team behind the hugely successful 'Don't F*ck With Cats', this feature length documentary is truly jaw-dropping.
We start by meeting Cecilie Fjellhoy, a Norway native based in London. Despite being well versed on Tinder and taking many precautions, she still finds herself enamoured by Leviev's charm. After an amazing first date including a five star hotel and a private jet, it was hard for Cecilie to fathom what would happen next. We also meet Pernilla Sjoholm in Stockholm. Leviev's lavish lifestyle and cunning charm don't quite work on Pernilla, however he persists and wins her over as a friend. I quickly became fully invested in their stories, which is a credit to their strength to relive the events. The victims show raw emotion which really portrays the devastating effect the swindler had on the lives of these women, with Cecilie even admitting herself to a psychiatric ward due to the trauma.
The use of real life videos taken from the girls' phones adds to the intimacy of the documentary, creating a real sense of empathy. Whilst watching I felt every emotion with the women; hope, guilt, sorrow and even genuine anger towards a man I've never met. It's often difficult for a documentary to achieve this captivation, but the creators did an amazing job with this one. The choice of background music, the clever cuts from the interviews to the real videos, and the gripping story all added to the suspense.
It would have been difficult for a story as shocking as this to not make a good watch, but Netflix went above and beyond with this one. A heart-breaking, harrowing and thought-provoking watch will leave viewers needing to compose themselves before heading back into reality.
Square-Eyes rating: 8.7. An enthralling story presented in a truly personal manner.
Star of the Show: All the Swindler's victims. Due to the culture we live in, the women involved face despicable social media backlash daily since the release. I think they showed admirable bravery exposing the shameful actions of Leviev, warning any of his potential targets.