SEE HOW THEY RUN (2022)
Release Date: 09/16/22 [Cinemas]
Studio: Searchlight Pictures
"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."
OUR MOVIE REVIEW:
Well, wouldn't ya know, it's another whodunit in the books. This time See How They Run has a more meta-approach as it covers the murder of the film director of an adaptation of Agatha Christie's 'The Mousetrap' - playing on London's west end in this film's 1952. On the case is Sam Rockwell as Detective Stoppard and Saoirse Ronan as Constable Stalker who are a charming lead duo. Their gang of suspects are also quite a fun bunch. See How They Run is a debut from director Tom George who brings a nice sense of style to the film, but the big downside to See How They Run is that it's vital characters feel underwritten, and it's plot undercooked, making the whole murder mystery fairly unsatisfying by its end.
I must say that See How They Run's more meta approach to the genre was one of its more interesting aspects. It plays with many of the tropes and cliches of the whodunit genre while also wholy celebrating it. The set up and background to the film create a fun string of tension through the ensemble of suspects. Some of my favorites being Harris Dickinson as actor Richard Attenborough, or David Oyelowo as stage director Mervyn Cocker-Norris.
There's honestly very few weak spots in the ensemble with everyone giving pretty fun performances with some surprises around the corner. Ronan ends up being my favorite of the film with giving the film's most charming turn, while Rockwell suffers among the whole cast. Although being a detective who's basically drunk the entire movie is kind of hilarious at points, the film doesn't exactly give that extra step for us to root for him. Which is unfortunate because I was enjoying his performance a fair bit, but his character is massively underwritten.
Much of the script does feel a bit undercooked. There's a lot of excitement behind See How They Run, and it feels like by its conclusion there's still much more to be desired. I rather admired the tricks that Tom George had up his sleeve. He has a very playful sense of storytelling with a visual style that's very much inspired by filmmakers like Edgar Wright and Wes Anderson, but confidently in his own element. However, where the film suffers the most is the script. I had mentioned how much of a disservice Rockwell's character is given, but the story is given an even bigger disservice. There are many fassinating set ups through See How They Run, but no pay off is particularly satisfying. Sometimes these set ups lead to a joke that's only about chuckle worthy, or they lead to a rather half-baked wrap up. It was very frustrating seeing certain developments go down in the third act; although they seemed like logical places to take the story, these elements needed a bit more time in the oven to become satisfying.
I'm certain many will enjoy See How They Run - to be fair, it's a perfectly breezy and enjoyable time at the movies, but I feel like there's plenty of room for it to be a little bit more. What could be a swing for the fences, only turns out to be base hit to the outfield. It hits all the right beats; it's all there, but it's not as subversive as it wants to be, and while playful with the genre tropes, icons and staples, it's frustrating to see it doing nothing particularly new with the genre.