I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a sucker for a good mystery movie.
As someone who values storytelling and colorful characters, A good mystery movie has to have both of those working in unison. While there has been a resurgence of mystery films in the last few years with ‘Knives Out’, ‘Murder on the Orient Express’, and ‘Death on the Nile’; there hasn’t been one that has found the right formula of characters and story.
‘See How They Run’ had a lot working in its favor with a strong cast of award-winning actors such as Sam Rockwell, Saoirse Ronan, Adrien Brody, and David Oyelowo. ‘See How They Run’ isn’t a bad movie but you can’t shake the feeling that this was a missed opportunity due to a subpar script. Set in West London in the 1950s, the murder of a communist American Hollywood film director named Leo Köpernick (Brody) send shockwaves throughout the city of London.
While visiting London to adapt a popular stage play into a film, Leo is killed backstage at a party with a lot of possible suspects who had motives to take him out. When alcoholic Inspector Stoppard (Rockwell) and rookie Police Constable Stalker (Ronan) are assigned to the investigation, they find themselves in the midst of a puzzling Agatha Christie-style whodunnit.
There’s something about this movie that just feels incomplete, a film that has all the tools to be a sleeper hit in a very mundane film year of 2022 but just can’t execute to get there. Sam Rockwell plays an alcoholic investigator who plays the character in such a mundane fashion, that he doesn’t have the charisma to make the character work as a leading star.
The star of the film is Saoirse Ronan who plays a very ambitious yet very naive constable who wants to work her way through the ranks and prove herself as a competent detective. Ronan and Rockwell’s attempt at a buddy cop comedy has its moments which are few and far between.
Adrien Brody’s character of Leo is the perfect center of the story as a sleazy director who gets under the skin of everyone he meets. He’s been hired to direct a movie adaptation of The Mousetrap, which has just opened its 100th show at a West London theater stage. However, he is in complete disagreement with the playwright Mervyn Cocker-Norris played by David Oyelowo on creative decisions regarding the opening and ending of the play.
The film attempts to go the meta route by having Leo narrate the path to his own death. In a lot of ways, the film is self-aware enough to give levity to its own story. The film has enough charm to keep audiences entertained but doesn’t have much else going for it to give the film any replay value.
“See How They Run” is a film that questions many of the creative decisions within its own story but those same questions should have been asked about the final product that the filmmakers produced.