Director: Tom George
Cast: Sam Rockwell, Saoirse Ronan, Adrien Brody, Ruth Wilson, Reece Shearsmith, Harris Dickinson, Charlie Cooper, Shirley Henderson, Lucian Msamati, Pippa Bennett-Warner, Pearl Chanda, Paul Chahidi, Sian Clifford, Jacob Fortune-Lloyd, Tim Key, Ania Marson, David Oyelowo
Runtime: 1 hr 38 mins
Rating: PG13 (Some Violence)
Released By: Walt Disney
Opening Day: 29 September 2022
Synopsis: In the West End of 1950s London, plans for a movie version of a smash-hit play come to an abrupt halt after the film’s Hollywood director is murdered. When world-weary Inspector Stoppard (Sam Rockwell) and eager rookie Constable Stalker (Saoirse Ronan) take on the case, the two find themselves thrown into a puzzling whodunit within the glamorously sordid theater underground, investigating the mysterious homicide at their own peril.
Who doesn’t like to solve a good old mystery?
See How They Run is about a popular theatre play coming to a halt after a key member of the crew, who were involved in creating a movie version of the play, was murdered and how 2 very unlikely souls, a jaded inspector and an enthusiastic rookie, got together to solve the mystery of the murder in their own ways.
There is something about this film (probably just based on the collaterals) that gives it a rather subdued vibe; one that is rather untouched and low-key in a way. And true enough, watching the entire film makes me feel that way. See How They Run does not play on bombastic Hollywood-like theatrics to enhance the film experience and the nature of the film itself, and there is beauty and pain in such ‘simplicity’ at times.
The cinematography is interesting and the director’s play on colours, lighting and tones enhances the film’s genre and plot development. Although rather subtle, some of these elements are used to elevate the storytelling and probably try to evoke certain emotions in each scene. However, the subtlety might fall flat on oblivious members of the audience and those who were more focussed on the plot itself.
Despite a rather suitable and inclusive casting, it feels like character development was non- existent and the audience is left not having the slightest idea. Given that they are many characters that played a key role in the plot, it might be challenging to give much attention to each and every character, however the lack of such development makes it challenging to relate to the character and to form an opinion, especially when the film involves trying to get the audience to somewhat be involved in trying to ‘solve a mystery’.
Even then, Saoirse Ronan as the excitable and overly eager Constable Stalker, paired with Sam Rockwell as the rather nonchalant and seasoned Inspector Stoppard, makes it an unlikely yet lovable and interesting pair, adding on to the collective humour of the film, which is actually rather dry but still laughable, although more could have been done to elevate the feeling and prolong the excitement.
Surprisingly, the film is much shorter than expected, running at slightly over 90 minutes. However, some parts of the film had rather tediously slow scenes, dragging the film a little. The slight irregular pacing made the film itself slightly choppy in terms of delivery. The music made up for such irregularities and was enjoyable.
All in all, See How They Run seem to want to offer more to the audience. Yet, it failed to do so for some reason. It felt like it was restraining and holding back its full potential and could have been a little more adventurous with its storytelling. But perhaps it being subdued and casually easy is meant to give the audience a more authentic and unadulterated feel of what a mystery case should be.
Perhaps, See How They Run wants to remain a mystery on its own. Not everything has to be obvious, I guess. Or should it?
(One of those casual easy-going films that remains pleasantly fun and rather humorous, but yet slightly forgettable. Might be better to save it for a weekday screening)
Review by Ron Tan