THE OUTFIT (2022)
SYNOPSIS: From the Academy Award-winning writer of The Imitation Game (Graham Moore) comes The Outfit, a gripping and masterful thriller in which an expert tailor (Academy Award winner Mark Rylance) must outwit a dangerous group of mobsters in order to survive a fateful night.
The Outfit maybe mistaken as a movie adapted from a stage play given the entire flick is set in one single location, a tailor shop. In actual fact, the screenplay is an original story written for the screen by director Graham Moore (making his directorial debut) and Johnathan McClaine.
The crime noir drama stars Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies, Ready Player One) as a mild-mannered cutter, Leonard who runs his own tailor shop making high-end suits in 1950s Chicago. As the neighbourhood is controlled by Irish mob boss, Roy (Simon Russell Boyle), Leonard allows his shop to be used by the mob as a stash house with Roy’s son, Richie (Dylan O’Brien) and his dad’s faithful man, Francis (Johnny Flynn) being his “regular” customers. In the meantime, Leonard carries on his daily business oblivious of his surroundings and dirty transactions.
However when Richie and Francis turned up at the shop one day with the former being shot at the torso by a rival gang, things immediately spiralled out of control and dark secrets start to unravel.
Since stylistic visual and action is not the script’s forte, Moore has to rely heavily on the plotting and the performance of the actors to sell the movie. A good gangster drama doesn’t need a whole lot of submachine guns to sustain it as The Outfit offers enough twists and turns via some decent backstories and fine dialogue between the characters. Still, Graham offers a few moments of shock and blood-curdling violence when you least expect it. The suspense is in short, top-notch and tension is in generous display as a certain main character is disposed of midway and you are left wondering how the story is going to end.
Of course, the biggest success of The Outfit lies in the casting of Mark Rylance who is typically cast as mild-mannered, eccentric, chill but likely has a dark secret hidden. The character of Leonard definitely fits the bill. As the story goes, we learnt more of his past and the reason why he chose to settle in Chicago all the way from London. Is he just a simple man known for his appreciation of bespoke suits and craftsman skill? Expectedly the answer is no.
Although both Dylan O’Brien and Zoey Deutch who portrayed Leonard’s receptionist and Richie’s love interest looks seriously out of place in this period drama, Mark Rylance and Johnny Flynn delivers stunning performance for what it’s worth. Despite minor shortcomings which include the obvious barren setup, you will get plenty of enjoyment out of The Outfit if you are a true cinephile.
Review by Linus Tee