Whodunnit? The old fashioned murder mystery the past few years has been making a big comeback. The latest comes from Tom George, his debut directorial feature after working on Television and radio. Sadly that comedic debut is a predictable mess with wafer thin character backgrounds with very little room to shine.
Sam Rockwell and Saoirse Ronan lead the cast as our alcoholic Inspector Stoppard and inexperienced enthusiastic Constable Stalker. It’s 1950’s London, the West End and the legendary Agatha Christie play The Mouse Hunt celebrates it’ s 100th performance. A year after it’s first performance the cast celebrate there is plans to bring the drama to the big screen with black-listed American film-maker Leo Köpernick (Adrien Brody) directing. He is making more enemies than friends at the after show party which pretentious screenwriter Mervyn Cocker-Norris (David Oyelowo) is also there. The pair haven’t decided on the script, at this party Köpernick ends up in a fight with Richard Attenborough (Harris Dickinson), not longer after that he’s dead.
It’s a nice move by TV veteran to use some real actors as characters like Attenborough, (even Christie appears at the end) giving the story some authenticity . We meet the potential motley crue of suspects in the opening scenes. Brody’s opening narration leaves you unsurprised his character is the victim. Even Scooby Doo could see this a mile off. Leaving showing off the suspects as something formulaic, wasted screen time.
The Aesthetic of See How They Run, George seems to be inspired by Wes Anderson. What we get is colourful, vibrant and very much of the era, it feels half baked lacking the depth. The quirkiness is there which is encapsulated by the film’’s score.
With this been a comedy, many of the jokes are a hit and miss. Many miss the mark a few do hit that bullseye, and those that do some are very much ‘Dad style’ jokes. This could have been a solid idiosyncratic comedy even a character focused comedy. It falls but comes across as convoluted, flat even a tad dull. The fourth wall moment from Stoppard and Stalker asking us not to reveal the culprit feels a little naughty especially if you read between the lines.
There is very few cast we can clearly say put in a worthy shift. Sam Rockwell feels a miscast, walks through the film as if he was sleepwalking with his Johnny Depp style fake English accent. Saoirse Ronan is much better and is allowed to show off her comedic talents however the plot leaves very little room to move.
See How You Run wants to be Agatha Christie with humour. It’s too simple for it’s liking and is over-cluttered with flashbacks and red herrings.