By: Amanda Guarragi
Recently whodunits have had a resurgence and some have managed to add something new to the genre. In See How They Run director Tom George diverts the audience’s attention with a flashy cast of characters and some great editing choices. The film takes place in 1950s London, and plans for a movie version of a smash-hit play called “The Mousetrap” by Agatha Christie come to an abrupt halt after a pivotal crew member is murdered. When a world-weary inspector (Sam Rockwell) and an eager rookie constable (Saoirse Ronan) take on the case, they find themselves thrown into a puzzling whodunit within the glamorously sleazy world of underground theatre, investigating the mysterious homicide at their peril.
The mystery begins with a famous American director Leo Köpernick (Adrien Brody) narration. He set the stage for the story by introducing the location and the cast of characters, while explaining that every whodunit does the same thing. Mark Chappell who wrote the screenplay managed to interweave three different plains of storytelling which was quite impressive. There was the narration, the actual dialogue in the “Mousetrap” and the investigation all working together as one. George also used flashbacks and split screens to show different perspectives of the same conversation which worked incredibly well and it felt unique to this whodunit. On top of that, they’re trying to adapt the play into a movie and they surprisingly incorporate that aspect.
Out of everyone in the cast Rockwell and Ronan had wonderful chemistry and carried the movie. With Ronan being a rookie constable the constant babbling and eagerness to solve the case made her a fun character. While Rockwell played up the exhausted old inspector who doesn’t have time for any of this or Ronan’s excitable nature towards the case. The supporting cast had their moments, especially David Oyelowo as screenwriter Mervyn Cocker-Norris and Harris Dickinson as Richard Attenborough. They had their piece come in at the right time to move the story forward and had some funny moments as well. Even though there were many factors involved the banter between them all made it entertaining and then the third act ended on a high note.
See How They Run is a fun whodunnit with a good cast of characters and an intricate story. Director Tom George was able to layer this mystery on different plains and incorporate so much into a short runtime. The characters will keep you guessing until the very end and even though the reveal of the murderer was a bit predictable, the motive gives the character more depth than anticipated. Saoirse Ronan stole the spotlight with her awkward humour and rambling, she is one of my favourite characters of the year. Murder mysteries are fun if the director is able to bring out different sides of his characters and manipulate the story in a fun way, and that’s exactly what Tom George did.