Opening 27 Oct 2022
The day before I watched See How They Run, Liz Truss announced her resignation as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Inflation in the UK is currently at a 40-year high and the British pound recently dropped to an all-time historic low. Not to mention that less than two months ago, Queen Elizabeth II died after 70 years on the throne, and the UK is still reeling politically and economically from Brexit. All in all, things seem fairly bleak in the UK. Perhaps there’s no better time for the release of See How They Run, a charming nostalgia-soaked romp through post-war London, which provides viewers with a silly-smart escape packed with notable actors and playful entertainment.
Set in 1953, See How They Run is a comedy about a fictional murder that takes place on the set of Agatha Christie’s play The Mousetrap, which premiered in 1952 and is still going strong in London’s West End theater district today (it’s the world’s longest-running play and I’ve seen it twice, but remember very little about it). The movie starts with a party celebrating the play’s 100th performance and the plan to transform it into a film. But there are conflicts between the crass, lady-chasing American film director Leo Kopernick (Adrien Brody) and the erudite British screenwriter Mervyn Cocker-Norris (David Oyelowo), which the film’s producer, John Woolf (Reece Shearsmith) is trying to smooth out.
When Leo is murdered the night of the party, it becomes clear that any number of people associated with The Mousetrap might have been the killer. Cue the arrival of two mis-matched police officers working together to figure out whodunit: a novice, Constable Stalker (Saoirse Ronan), who takes notes on everything and is wide-eyed in the presence of famous actors, and a jaded veteran, Inspector Stoppard (Sam Rockwell) who’d much rather work the case alone. But lucky for us, he’s stuck with the plucky Stalker, as their bantering and blundering form the charismatic core of the film. Throughout the movie, we’re often reminded that everyone is acting—often on multiple layers considering the play within a film aspect—and it pokes fun at the world of moviemaking and its stereotypes and cliches, as well as lampooning Agatha Christie’s murder mysteries. But it doesn’t take itself too seriously and the overall feeling is lighthearted and slightly goofy, making it perfectly distracting and entertaining. (Diana Schnelle)