See How They Run compiles the best of British talent to solve a whodunnit that’s as stylish as it is self-aware.
See How They Run, a directorial debut from Tom George, previously responsible for This Country, is centred on the Agatha Christie play The Mousetrap, with its director murdered on its 100th performance anniversary.
Therefore, two investigators, Constable Stalker (Saoirse Ronan) and Inspector Stoppard (Sam Rockwell) have to wade through the endless faces of possible murderers who carry their own instinctive motives.
Producer John Woolf (Reece Shearsmith) wants nothing more than to close the West End production so he can begin work on the cinematic adaptation whilst keeping his affair a secret from his wife Edana Romney (Sian Clifford).
Meanwhile, playwright Mervyn Cocker-Norris (David Oyelowo) is furious with the belated director for his modern envisioning of the Christie classic ruining all of his work, and damaging his career.
All the while, Richard Attenborough (Harris Dickinson) uses all of the unfurling drama to further his own character performances each night. Coincidentally becomes the second role Dickinson plays this year as a vapid celebrity, the other being an influencer in Triangle of Sadness.
See How They Run becomes wrapped in its own self-awareness as a murder mystery film about a play that wishes to be a film, with real individuals portrayed by recognisable stars.
When Ruth Wilson, who in recent years has petrified audiences for her chilling role as Ms Coulter in His Dark Materials, and Reece Shearsmith, known for his subversive twisted anthology Inside No. 9 and surrealist dark comedy League of Gentlemen linger ominously in scenes, it is clear how much media influence was understood by the crew in filling this cast with actors that audience will recognise as potential villains.
Comparatively, to Rian Johnson‘s Knives Out and Glass Onion, the bombardment of actors shows no understanding of the media that they’re associated with, further adding layers to See How They Run with it understanding and manipulating its contextual awareness to bluff or double bluff audiences.
As mentioned, for this to be Tom George’s directorial debut, its stylistic use of split screen filming replicates the angles and filmmaking techniques referencing the cinematic great Alfred Hitchcock that could fool most into believing this is one of many in George’s portfolio as a feature.
In truth, this is favourably aided by the marvellous script as written by Mark Chappell. Irreverant and farcical as if homaging comedian Mike Myers, the sarcasm and stupidity to some lines when delivered between Commissioner Scott (Tim Key) and the acting officers, makes for some genuine laugh-out-loud moments especially when respectfully acknowledging their respective titles.
See How They Run is as great as a mystery as it is a comedy, and for a film set in the early 50s, it could not have been made to be any more contemporary.
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