Film Review – See How They Run (2022)

films, reviews

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Sometimes I feel as though I’m the only person on Earth who didn’t think that Knives Out was the revolutionary and original murder mystery that everyone else believes. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it but the way some people go on, you’d think Rian Johnson had invented the drama. Although, I’m generally underwhelmed by whodunnits in general. It might be because of my love of Agatha Christie or because I’m just too cynical. Either way, I just think they’re too obvious. It’s such an oversaturated market that we’ve seen it all before. I just think it’s difficult to shock, so you need to do something special to keep me on board. I was keen to find out if See How They Run would do that.

After all, there was a lot about it that I could enjoy. With Sam Rockwell and Saoirse Ronan in the main roles, the film also boasted an amazing British cast. I was excited. Then there was the blending of fact and fiction with appearances from real figures like Richard Attenborough, Sheila Sim, Agatha Christie and John Woolf. Was it worrying that the film so heavily referenced Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap? Yes, considering so many homages to the Queen of Crime go badly but at least the film seemed funny. Something that would make it seem like a breath of fresh air compared to Kenny B’s recent adaptations.

Above all else See How They Run is a silly film that just wants to have fun. It’s self-aware and tongue-in-cheek without being annoying. Other people may disagree but I think it works well and adds to the humour. The film centres around the 100th performance of Christie’s The Mousetrap and a fictional murder that took place behind the stage. An American film director, played by Adrien Brody, is murdered after having plenty of public disagreements. Inspector Stoppard and Constable Stalker are the only available members of the police available to solve the crime. It is the young Stalker’s first murder and she gets stuck in straight away. Safe to say, the pair are a bit of an odd couple and her eagerness winds up her weary mentor.

The great thing about this film is how artificial yet real it is. It knows its limitations and plays up on them. See How They Run is a well-written story but it also knows that it’s working in a genre full of tired cliches. It plays up the traditions and embraces the inherent Britishness that is associated with Christie. Although it is a Britishness that is injected with a big shot of Hollywood. The film plays with fact and fiction. As well as real figures, it includes real details associated with the classic theatre and film. It gives the narrative enough of a basis in history to add something to the whole thing.

Again, there will be some out there who dislike the meta aspect of the film. The script is littered with self-aware moments and there’s a nudge, nudge, wink, wink quality to some of the gags. Personally, I think it worked here because it was all done so obviously and over the top. Like a weird sort of parody of a parody. I can’t sit here and say that it is perfect. After all, I think the whole whodunnit element is kind of lost in all the cleverness and the final reveal isn’t as strong as it should be. However, I thoroughly enjoyed watching and think the chemistry between the two main stars was brilliant. I’d happily watch this again and still enjoy it. Mostly because, unlike the majority of murder mysteries out there, this is one that isn’t afraid to have some fun.

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