See How They Run is constructed on a easy however scrumptious premise: a whodunnit buried inside an precise whodunnit, on this case Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap. It not solely provides Tom George’s movie many genres to satirise — it’s a backstage drama, crime potboiler, police procedural all wrapped up in a farce — but it surely permits for a realizing, self-referential high quality that brings the conceits and conventions of the murder-mystery to the fore. It doesn’t fully work, but it surely’s quick, humorous and continuously fashionable, topped off with nice work by Sam Rockwell and particularly Saoirse Ronan.
Mark Chappell’s screenplay does a nifty job of affectionately embroidering the story’s madcap malarkey with actual nuggets pulled from British movie and theatre lore. Chief amongst them is the little-known proven fact that Christie (embodied briefly by Shirley Henderson) inserted a clause into her Mousetrap contract that decreed no movie model might be made till six months after the play had ended its theatrical run. The element provides a believable motive for a bunch of participating characters to sabotage both the stage or movie model through the homicide of film director Leo Köpernick (Adrien Brody, who additionally narrates) backstage on the Ambassadors.
The true pleasure of the movie is the rapport between the investigating plods, Sam Rockwell’s cynical Stoppard and Saoirse Ronan’s beginner WPC Stalker.
On the theatrical facet we now have impresario Petula ‘Choo’ Spencer (Ruth Wilson), actors Richard Attenborough (a terrific Harris Dickinson, who will get the younger Dickie’s voice down pat) and Sheila Sim (Pearl Chanda). Among the many film suspects are mogul John Woolf (Reece Shearsmith, taking part in the precise producer of The African Queen), his spouse Edana Romney (Sian Clifford) and celebrated (learn: overrated) screenwriter Mervyn Cocker-Norris (David Oyelowo). The solid assault the mayhem with gusto however the whodunnit component finally loses its grip, the revelation of the killer lower than satisfying.
There’s a realizing, meta high quality to the screenplay — a bemoaning of flashbacks as a hoary gadget crash-cuts to a title-card “Three Months Earlier” — and typically it feels too winky-winky. As such, See How They Run works greatest when it’s leaning into old-school wordplay, visible whimsy and powerful gags (“Which a part of France are you from?” “Belgium”). Debutant characteristic director Tom George reduce his tooth on lo-fi BBC Three mockumentary This Nation — Charlie Cooper reveals up as a dimwit usher — however elevates his ambition right here. There are shades of Wes Anderson within the stylisation (The Grand Budapest Resort looms massive) and hints of Edgar Wright within the emphatic reducing however George makes it his personal, neatly evincing ’50s London’s completely different atmospheres and shifting issues alongside at a good previous lick.
However the true pleasure of the movie is the rapport between the investigating plods, Sam Rockwell’s cynical Stoppard (there’s a working joke about coppers named after playwrights) and Saoirse Ronan’s beginner WPC Stalker. Rockwell brings grizzled, Walter Matthau-type allure to the inspector but it surely’s Ronan who shines brightest as an over-eager, by-the-notebook constable, star-struck by the suspects and taking the whole lot at face worth. They make such an pleasant duo, in actual fact, that the additional investigations of Stoppard and Stalker could be very a lot welcome.