See How They Run (2022)

See How They Run (2022)

2022 PG-13 98 Minutes

Mystery | Comedy | Crime

In the West End of 1950s London, plans for a movie version of a smash-hit play come to an abrupt halt after a pivotal member of the crew is murdered. When world-weary Inspector Stoppard and eager r...

Overall Rating

7 / 10
Verdict: Good

User Review

  • WHAT I LIKED: There's a technique in comedy called "telegraphing the punchline," where the audience enjoy the journey to an obvious and inevitable end. That's pretty much the narrative formula of most movies, but few draw attention to and revel in that delight more than Tom George and Mark Chappell's whodunit 'See How They Run.'

    The film starts with an arrogant director (Adrien Brody) tasked with making an adaptation of Agatha Christie's long-running production 'The Mousetrap,' saying that "the most unlikeable character always gets killed in the first ten minutes," and we wait for him to be brutally murdered as he walks into a creepy theatre basement. He similarly describes how there's always a good cop bad cop duo who come to investigate (cue Sam Rockwell and Saorise Ronan) and later, after his writer describes flashbacks as a "lazy technique," a flashback shows the late director literally storyboarding the end of the entire film.

    That kind of thing may sound counter-intuitive for this genre, particularly as films like the recent 'Knives Out,' are partly so engrossing because there's an element of mystery and reveal. But generally knowing what's going to happen here means you instead spend the film smiling at the inevitability of it all and the way that exposes the formula in one massive fourth-wall break.

    It helps of course that the characters are all brilliantly knowing, satirical archetypes, with actors exaggerating their roles as though Wes Anderson is behind the camera. There's Saorise Ronan as the budding young assistant who practically skips everywhere and jumps to conclusions at every turn, Sam Rockwell's hilariously begrudging Inspector who spends every given moment in the pub, and then there are all the film and theatre suspects who are self-preserving, pretentious artists (Harris Dickinson as Richard Attenborough and David Oleyowo as the screenwriter for example) or moguls (e.g. Ruth wilson as the stage director and Reece Shearsmith as the Hollywood exec).

    But the satire extends beyond the characters to the style of the thing too, with lots of creative edits and stylistic choices that riff amusingly on the genre, and the result of all of that is an amusing take on the murder mystery movie that teases its punchline and has a lot of fun along the way.

    WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: The fact it is so satirical not only removes room for much serious engagement, but it also makes the punchline a little underwhelming.

    VERDICT: A murder mystery that plays with its audience by telegraphing every twist of the plot before it happens, 'See How They Run,' is great, satirical fun.