“The Tinder Swindler”

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Poster for a new documentary film “The Tinder Swindler” now streaming on Netflix.

In a world full of scams, swindlers, and criminals, it is hard to find true love online. As dark and full of terror dating apps are, using them might be inevitable these days. In “The Tinder Swindler,” a true-crime documentary now streaming on Netflix, a handful of women endure the dark side of online dating, all because of falling in love with a charming con artist. This movie has everything a viewer can wish for – a suspenseful plot, full of unexpected twists and turns, and humorous quips that make you cry from laughter. Watching it is like riding on a roller coaster – you’re excited and at the same time nervous, not knowing how this ride is going to end.
The movie’s main antagonist, Simon Leviev, poses as a rich son of an Isreali diamond magnate – Lev Leviev. At first, he uses Tinder to lure European women into his life, buying them off with luxurious cars, private jets and fancy dinners. Once they feel indebted to him, he makes them financially rescue him from his enemies, requesting more money with each upcoming “threat.” But the truth is, there is no threat just like there is no Simon Leviev. There is, however, Shimon Hayut – born in Israel, scammer, who initially left the country and flew to Europe to avoid the trial for his crimes. With inventing a genius scheme now outlined in the Netflix documentary, he thought his problems would disappear forever. What he didn’t expect, however, is that three of the women he has previously defrauded are already planning revenge.
While the first half of the film provides information about the con artist, the other half focuses on the hunt for “The Tinder Swindler.” The main characters Cecile Fjellhoy, Pernilla Sjoholm, and Ayleen Charlotte, join together to recover the thousands of dollars that were stolen from them.
The director of photography, Edgar Dubrovskiy, did a fantastic job at displaying the evidence. With having access to the photos and voice messages from Hayut, he had an ultimate proof that the events described in the film really happened. The editorial department managed to turn all that restored evidence into a suspenseful and captivating documentary. The texts from Hayut to his victims would spring up on the screen unexpectedly, making the viewers as surprised as those women must have been. It’s a highly effective way to connect with the audience. Watching it made them wonder if they would have fallen for this charming fraudster as well.
As a documentary, “The Tinder Swindler” tells a true story without making use of professional actors. The combination of employing real-life footage and intense interviews with the victims makes the film truly compelling to watch. Its director, Felicity Morris, did an excellent job at capturing the women’s emotions as well as using their sympathy. Fjellhoy, Sjoholm and Charlotte are highly likable characters who can effectively convince the viewers that one negative experience can’t stop them from achieving happiness. Frankly, the greatest part of the movie is not getting revenge or capturing the fraudster. It is the fact that although meeting Hayut could have been enough of a trauma for these women, they have never given up on finding true love.