Written by: Mark Chappell
Starring: Sam Rockwell, Saoirse Ronan, Adrien Brody, Ruth Wilson, Harris Dickinson
The popularity of genres ebb and flows throughout time with some having much more time before they rise again. Westerns are still waiting for it to arrive if ever, but murder mysteries have risen once again with the immense popularity of various films in the last couple of years. As with any genre, they contain various tropes that allow them to be successful and provide templates audiences can follow. While See How They Run follows them with its narrative, the way it pokes fun at its very existence adds another layer to make it even more entertaining.
With the 100th-year celebration of Agatha Christie’s “Mousetrap,” the cast and crew gather and all get perturbed by the brash American director set to adapt it for the big screen. After irritating everyone he is found dead with all of the party seen as potential suspects in his death with each of them having a definable motive. It comes down to Inspector Stoppard (Sam Rockwell) and Constable Stalker (Saoirse Ronan) to get to the bottom of it.
Knowing me, all one has to say to get me to watch any film is to state Saorise Ronan is starring in it. This feature finds her portraying a young and inexperienced constable trying to learn from the lead inspector and she unsurprisingly proved to be the biggest highlight of it. Working with the delightful script provided by Mark Chappell, she delivers every line so well with each pun landing even better than the last one. For goodness sake, her last name is stalker, which serves as an antithesis to what she does professionally. She’s one of the greatest living actors and it’s no surprise she would thrive in this comedic role. The rapport she builds with Sam Rockwell in their journey to solve this mystery allows for so many comedic little outbursts. A sense of eagerness from her to match the cynical veteran perspective of Rockwell’s Stoppard provides the proper and necessary balance for them to solve the mystery at the center of it all.
Structurally this feature seeks to speak on the very nature of a murder mystery while also being one. The very fact that this film centers on Agatha Christie and her work really says it all, but it gets even more self-aware as it goes along. The individual behind the central murder and the subsequent ones throughout the feature lies amongst the individuals and it all comes down to finding out and stopping them before even more lives are taken. As with every murder mystery, most of the individuals have some sort of motive, but it comes down to who had the opportunity and then took it.
Additionally, every murder mystery needs an ensemble cast of characters that bring their eccentric personalities to the story and this feature certainly brings it with Adrien Brody, Ruth Wilson, Reece Shearsmith, Harris Dickinson, David Oyelowo, and several others. They all have something to contribute to the plot and do so with style with each making a case for their innocence while also unintentionally proving why they should not be completely trusted in their testimony as well. To be fair, Adrien Brody did too good of a job in creating such an easily hateable character to be the victim of the central murder of the narrative. Much more gets unraveled and it continues to add the extra layers of enjoyment this feature provides in spades.
With delightful period costumes to take us back to this era in London, another technical aspect that excelled in this feature proved to be the score by Daniel Pemberton. A whimsical and throwback score that adds to the mysterious element of this feature to a terrific degree. Incredibly befitting of the mystery happening here and the many twists occurring throughout, it elegantly glides throughout the feature, especially when it comes to the use of piano to create even more intrigue. Very easy to listen to and certainly a wonderful supporting piece to the feature as a whole.
It feels reductive to call this film what others have stated in saying, this feature represents what it would look like if Wes Anderson did a murder mystery, but it must be said that Tom Geroge certainly employs much of the style of the auteur filmmaker. With this being his second feature film, it must feel like a compliment to get these comparisons even if it does not have the level of detail typically found in an Anderson film. This film succeeds and ultimately sticks out from the recent rise in murder mysteries comes of how it structurally puts together its mystery, the light tone it creates, and the way it pokes fun at itself at the same time. Also, it does not hurt if your feature has the phenomenal Saorise Ronan carrying it on her shoulders as well.