Friday, September 16, 2022

See How They Run Review: A Great Cast Fuels This Whodunit Mystery

Release Date: September 16, 2021
Running Time: 98 Minutes
Director/Writer: Atsuko Ishizuka 
Starring: Sam Rockwell, Saoirse Ronan,Adrien Brody, Ruth Wilson, Reece Shearsmith, Harris Dickinson, Charlie Cooper, Shirley Henderson, Lucian Msamati, Pippa Bennett-Warner, Pearl Chanda, Paul Chahidi, Sian Clifford, Jacob Fortune-Lloyd, Ania Marson, Tim Key, David Oyelowo

In the West End of 1950s London, plans for a movie version of a smash-hit play come to an abrupt halt after the film’s Hollywood director is murdered. When world weary Inspector Stoppard (Sam Rockwell) and eager rookie Constable Stalker (Saoirse Ronan) take on the case, the two find themselves thrown into a puzzling whodunit within the glamorously sordid theater underground, investigating the mysterious homicide at their own peril.

I had high hopes for See How They Run due to the stellar cast and wonderful concept.  And for the most part they delivered with a series of quirky characters and a stylish look.  The film starts off slowly but builds consistently as the mystery grows and the questions intensify.  And contributing to this tempo is a wonderful soundtrack that captures the style and whimsy of this film.  Strangely, the soundtrack seems to contribute more to the overall mood and energy than some of the plot devices.  Additionally, the movie does have a nice, dry sense of humor that comes through often.  And the film builds to an ultimately satisfying, very whodunit ending. 

However, despite me having very high hopes for this film, ultimately it did not grab me as much as I would have expected.  The film has a very slow start, one that had me wondering when more would happen.  Although See How They Run does eventually build in the final third, it just never reached what I was hoping it would become.  At the end of the day, I was left wondering if the journey had been worth it.  And the dry humor has plenty of moments but those moments were far more scattered than I was anticipating.  

And despite the movie's bold style, I did not get the same boldness from the characters.  It was a strange disconnect to have a film that had such a sense of identity that was not communicated through the main conduits.  I felt like some of the talent was not utilized well.  Sam Rockwell is one of my favorite actors but it often felt like his talent was wasted in this film.  His character is weary and downtrodden for most of the movie, muting his natural humor and charisma.  Ultimately, given the style and list of quirky characters, I was expecting something similar to Knives Out, but where Knives Out was sharp and stylish, see how they run was dull and muted.  

See How They Run has a stellar cast and an ultimately satisfying mystery, but in the end it feels like a dulled Knives Out rather than a fresh stab at the whodunit genre. 

Rent it.

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See How They Run is in theaters on September 16, 2022.  

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