See How They Run – Movie Review

TL;DR – A delightful romp through post-WW2 London as a murder reaches into the heights of polite society.    

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Disclosure – I paid for the Disney+ service that viewed the film.

Mousetrap

See How They Run Review

We are seeing a resurgence of the Murder Mystery on our screens, which I have generally found to be an absolute delight. We have witnessed straight adaptations like Murder on the Orient Express, musical romps like The Bob’s Burgers Movie, and genre deconstructions like Knives Out. Today we’ll look at a film that is a lover of the genre and dances with a light touch while delving into some delightful meta-commentary.    

 So to set the scene, we open on London’s West End in 1953, where Agatha Christie’s Mousetrap is playing its 100th performance. Hollywood has tasked Leo Köpernick (Adrien Brody) to create a film adaptation of this dull play. After flirting with the star of the show Richard Attenborough’s (Harris Dickinson) wife, Sheila Sim (Pearl Chanda), Leo ends up backstage, where he is brutally murdered by someone dressed in black. But as Leo states as the narrator, it is always the most unlikeable characters that get bumped off. Now Inspector Stoppard (Sam Rockwell) and Constable Stalker (Saoirse Ronan) are on the case, but as Leo laments, if you have seen one Whodunit, you have seen them all.

Sam Rockwell and Saoirse Ronan are on the case.
Sam Rockwell and Saoirse Ronan are on the case. Image Credit: 20th Century Studios.

Not only is See How They Run a loving homage to the murder mystery genre, but it is also a profoundly meta-narrative on the genre as a whole and, indeed, broader narrative construction. I would almost call it cynical if there was not an apparent love and a light tone to support the friendly barbs that get slung here and there. Which leads to some surreal moments, like a character lamenting about how useless flashbacks are as a narrative technique while currently in a flashback from a narrative perspective.

One of the things that I really like about See How They Run is the film’s energy. You have Stalker running at 100 miles an hour with an exuberance for where she is. In contrast, Stoppard is just tired of life and well everything. Come to think of it. Their names very much match their characters. But then there is also an energy in the film’s presentation. From the framing to the editing to the musical score, there is a lightness, almost like a dancer spinning in a pirouette. This energy, along with some exquisite set and costume design, creates a world that is a delight to inhabit.

You are all suspects and potential victems.
The cast is having a ball. Image Credit: 20th Century Studios.

The whole cast had a bit of a challenge capturing the right tone, given the slight surreal absurdity permeating every aspect of this film. However, I think they have all equipped themselves with vigour, walking right up to the edge of too far and staying just this side of it. Regarding the mystery, I found myself engaged with it for the first two-thirds of the film, but it lost me towards the end, with it feeling like the movie was working harder to pull off the conceit of the narrative rather than the narrative itself.

In the end, do we recommend See How They Run? Well, I don’t think it entirely stuck the landing. It was a bunch of fun up to that point. Sam Rockwell & Saoirse Ronan make a great team, and I did like seeing them stumble through this mess. If you liked See How They Run, we would recommend to you Glass Onion.     

By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.

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Credits –
All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of See How They Run
Directed by
– Tom George
Written by – Mark Chappell
Music by – Daniel Pemberton
Cinematography by – Jamie D. Ramsay
Edited by – Gary Dollner & Peter Lambert
Production/Distribution Companies – DJ Films, TSG Entertainment, Searchlight Pictures, 20th Century Pictures & Disney+
Starring – Sam Rockwell, Saoirse Ronan, Adrien Brody, Ruth Wilson, Reece Shearsmith, Harris Dickinson, Charlie Cooper, David Oyelowo, Shirley Henderson, Lucian Msamati, Pippa Bennett-Warner, Pearl Chanda, Paul Chahidi, Sian Clifford, Jacob Fortune-Lloyd & Tim Key
Rating – Australia: M; Canada: PG; Germany: 12; New Zealand: M; United Kingdom: 12A; United States: PG-13

1 thought on “See How They Run – Movie Review

  1. Pingback: 7 Women and a Murder (7 Donne e un Mistero) – Movie Review | TL;DR Movie Reviews and Analysis

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