The classic whodunit has been done time and time again. I have seen so many iterations of this genre, and most of them I have really enjoyed. I am always captivated by the thrill of the investigation and the twists and turns the story takes me on. See How They Run is the latest offering in this genre, however, it is a paradoxical take on it. I was a little apprehensive in my approach, but my concerns were very quickly put to rest as the film kicked into gear.
See How They Run is set around the West End smash hit production of The Mousetrap and contains plot points of the play. The production is set to hit Australian theatres, kicking off in Sydney in October. So, if you have not seen this play and do not know how it ends, this film will contain spoilers. A hard choice to make, considering See How They Run is absolutely fantastic!
It is no coincidence that most of the best whodunit films over the years have been based on novels by Agatha Christie. See How They Run is the latest to borrow from her incredible writing style, but it takes it to another level. A whodunit on a play about an Agatha Christie whodunit. It sounds like some next level Inception shit, but it is hilarious, and it works incredibly well.
Surrounding around The Mouse Trap’s 100th performance celebration, the celebrations come to a halt when a body is discovered on the stage. We are then introduced to the unlikely investigative duo of Inspector Stoppard, Sam Rockwell, and Constable Stalker, Saoirse Ronan. Stoppard is your stereotypical boozy detective, complete with the classic trench coat and hat. Whilst Stalker is an over enthusiastic female officer that is striving to impress her superiors.
I love a good paradoxical comedy and I have always been a fan of an investigative drama. But never have I seen the two genres mashed together and I was thoroughly impressed by how well it worked. The successful mashup is expertly written by Mark Chappell and directed by Tom George. Both creatives have only ever worked in television and largely limited to British productions. However, this is their first entry into a large production and international film. The two have created the perfect balance of dry humour and provide enough twists and turns to keep me hanging on until the final reveal.
There are so many characters in this film. I mean, it wouldn’t be a whodunit without a huge cast. Adrien Brody as director Leo Köpernic, David Oyelowo as playwright Mervyn Cocker-Norris, Reeson Shearsmith as producer John Woolf, and they are just a few of the brilliant characters from the larger cast. However, it is the pairing of Saoirse Ronan and Sam Rockwell that completely steal the show. Ronan’s dry delivery is utterly hilarious and perfectly executes the over enthusiastic nature of her character Constable Stalker. Rockwell is equally as impressive as the jaded, alcoholic Inspector Stoppard and pseudo mentor to his unlikely partner. I really hope they work together again in the future because this match was perfection.
One thing that did stand out with See How They Run was how the film was shot and presented to the audience. At times, we had split screen views of the scene to show multiple characters, front on, at the same time. I also couldn’t help but notice the Wes Anderson inspired symmetrical camera angles. The perfectly framed buildings and other aesthetically pleasing shots were a pleasure to watch. Huge props to Jamie D. Ramsay who took on the cinematography duties.
I did not just love See How They Run, I absolutely adored it. Comedies and mysteries are my kryptonite and putting the two of them together in a way that I have never seen before was just perfect. I thoroughly enjoyed the idea of a story layered within a story. Even better was the pay off at the end. I did not find it overly predictable, but it was the way the story drummed to its conclusion that was absolutely hilarious. I was completely satisfied.
Like most classic whodunit films, once you have seen one, you have seen them all. And whilst this rings true for See How They Run, it is how they get to the end that makes this film stand out from the crowd. And even though I am now fully aware of how it all ends, I would happily see this film again.
See How They Run is out in cinemas from September 29. Check your local guides for tickets because you do not want to miss this fun mystery.