Rating:12A Cast: Sam Rockwell, Saoirse Ronan, Adrien Brody, David Oyelowo, Ruth Wilson, Harris Dickinson and Pearl Chandra. Directed by Tom George. Written by Mark Chappell. Length: 98mins.
See How They Run is a brilliantly likable whodunnit spoof centred on Agatha Christie’s long running play, The Mousetrap. It is expanded as a brutal homicide takes place backstage in its London West End theatre in 1953 during a party celebrating 100 performances.
The concept see’s a brash Hollywood director (Brody) who plans to transition the famous play to a movie who, after seeing him upset one or two of our company, is murdered in the costume department. Sam Rockwell is brought in as lead investigating officer with an overeager, movie loving assistant (Ronan) to take charge of the situation and solve the murder under the scrutiny of their seniors.
There’s a very entertaining silliness to See How They Run and I actually think it’s a brilliantly clever idea. While widely described as a spoof – it takes itself very seriously which is the main reason it works, there’s no slapstick here. Director Tom George appears to deeply trust his script, written by Mark Chappell, and allows the humour to flow from the dialogue, of course, through deeply hilarious performers – particularly Ronan with her doe-eyed expressions, innocent optimism and wonderful comic timing. With the confidence in the dialogue, it allows the director to really play with the cinematography which has a kind of Wes Anderson feel to it.
Saoirse Ronan and Sam Rockwell are a duo that work wonderfully well together, two very experienced actors who throw everything into the quirky characters that they have in front of them. The ensemble cast is not lacking in experience either – David Oyelowo fits beautifully into his role as the scorned writer, Brody seems to enjoy his time as the cocky director turned victim and honestly there’s not really a weak link in the whole cast.
Part of this movies genius is that it’s not trying to trick the audience. The villain isn’t necessarily obvious, but you can comfortably walk down the path they lead you and probably work it out before the big reveal – allowing the audience the satisfaction of feeling a part of the mystery without having to pay too much attention and to enjoy the moments of poking fun at perhaps more serious films in the same genre.
This is an easy film with no pretensions, entirely without the deadly seriousness with which Agatha Christie is now adapted and is the opportunity to watch some world class performers having a bit of fun. It’s nice to see Tom George making some creative choices that aren’t necessarily the obvious ones and is well written by Mark Chappell. I would absolutely recommend going to see this film in the cinema, particularly for a bit of a laugh and a solid dose of escapism.