See How They Run — Too Simplistic, In Almost Parody Fashion
I’m a sucker for a good whodunnit, and the idea of one set in the 1950’s West End seemed to tickle my fancy, so I decided to go check out “See How They Run” at the start of a busy streak of films to watch.
After Agatha Christie’s “Mousetrap” runs for 100 days in London’s West End, the play is set for a transition to the big screen as a motion picture — until the director of the film is murdered. Enter Inspector Stoppard and Constable Stalker who are on the case to solve the crime. This forms the core plot of the film.
They to any murder mystery are the leads and the suspects. In this regard, the film gives us two protagonists who are not only fun to watch, command screen presence and carry the film forward well, but also work well with each other. The dynamic between Sam Rockwell and Saoirse Ronan probably is a bit one dimensional and lacks any real exploration for us to actually care about them, but in the very basics of it, their chemistry works and it’s probably a good thing as that’s the only thing they have going for them.
As for the suspects and supporting cast, it’s disappointing but not a single one of them is interesting enough for us to really sit and be engaged enough to break them down — that’s if the writing gave us anything. There is little depth, very basic writing and we are spoonfed all the information we need.
That’s the major disappointment coming out of this film — we are spoonfed everything. There were points where I had to sit and wonder whether this was an actual whodunnit or whether it was meant to be a parody of one. The very first voice over monologue in the first scene literally pokes fun at the genre, and how formulaic they can be. The film then goes on to follow that exact formula.
We then see characters talking about the intelligence of the audience and how this genre of story should be presented so it can be understood — and then the film proceeds to give us very basic characters, little to no reading between the lines required and lots of exposition.
Even when the film tries (or at least I felt it did) to be subtle and call back to previous scenes or dialogues (I’m hinting at the climax) it just feels cringey and yet again I think — am I watching a parody?
Without bashing it too much though, it nails the comedy without it feeling too forced and cringey, and the production design is a massive plus, with a real authentic 1950’s feel throughout.
It’s a very fun film, but a whodunnit is only as good as it’s mystery and unfortunately the film is just far too simplistic, in almost parody fashion. You’d be forgiven for wondering if that’s what you actually watched — I know I did.
“See How They Run” is out now in cinemas only.