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See How They Run Review

September 16, 2022 | Posted by Jeffrey Harris
See How They Run - Photo Still Image Credit: 20th Century Studios
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See How They Run Review  

Directed By: Tom George
Written By: Mark Chappell
Runtime: 98 minutes
MPA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some violence/bloody images and a sexual reference.

Sam Rockwell – Inspector Stoppard
Saoirse Ronan – Constable Stalker
Adrien Brody – Leo Kopernick
David Oyelowo – Mervyn Cocker-Norris
Reece Shearsmith – John Woolf
Ruth Wilson – Petula Spencer
Harris Dickinson – Richard Attenborough
Pearl Chanda – Sheila Sim
Charlie Cooper – Dennis Corrigan
Tim Key – Commissioner Harrold Scott

See How They Run may not have the most inventive plotline, but the new comedic whodunnit offers a witty style, a charming and talented cast, and a fairly breezy pace. It is short and quick, yet entertaining and memorable.

Tom George directs this old-fashioned murder mystery, which is set around the real-life Agatha Christie play The Mousetrap, which is the longest-running play in existence. Shortly after the show’s grand opening, Christie’s play is poised for a theatrical film adaptation by blacklisted Hollywood film producer Leo Kopernick (Brody). However, Kopernick is brutally murdered on the night of the film’s 100th performance. Due to Kopernick’s typically uncouth demeanor, he was not well-liked by the central personalities around the show, including star Richard Attenborough (Dickinson); screenwriter Cocker-Norris (Oyelowo); theatre promoter Petula Spencer (Wilson); and film producer John Woolf (Shearsmith). Basically, everyone is a suspect, and Scotland Yard’s Inspector Stoppard (Rockwell) has his work cut out for him.

Stoppard teams up with the bright yet inexperienced Constable Stalker (Ronan) for the investigation. Stalker is inquisitive and has a penchant for details, but she is also a novice when it comes to detective work. Stoppard is nonplussed after Commissioner Scott (Key) pairs him with Stalker, especially since he likes to grab a drink at the local pub while on the clock. Regardless of their flaws, Stalker and Stoppard’s differences could be exactly what their case needs.

See How They Run succeeds with an impressive cast of highly esteemed, charismatic thespians. They are all clearly having fun showing off in this type of story. Many of the characters do not much depth, but the actors bring out their characterizations so well that their performances are enjoyable. As a murder mystery, the plot only offers enough details to allow the audience to try and piece together the truth of the murder with a few red herrings along the way.

Rockwell and Ronan play off each other well as the older, veteran inspector Stoppard juxtaposed by the younger, rising policewoman, Stalker. Ronan has not starred in too many comedies, so this is a refreshing change of pace for her. She perfectly embodies the character of Stalker, a single mother and Irish police officer who wants to prove herself and rise in her career. She also has an innocent and pure love of the theatrical arts and film. Rockwell’s Stoppard is beaten down and listless from years at the job, but he is not an incompetent and total buffoon with his police work.

Mark Chappell’s script is at its most interesting when it weaves in authentic historical figures and events as part of the narrative with the fictional murder scenario and the detectives. Agatha Christie also plays a small, amusing role in the story. The mystery loses cohesion in the film’s latter half. Specific sequences are directly telegraphed early on before the plot starts gaining momentum. The story shows a few too many cards in its hand too early.

Director Tom George, who comes from an episodic television directing background, exhibits strong poise for his feature directorial debut. See How They Run is a bit rough around the edges in how it delivers some of its exposition. The third act unfolds clumsily. However, George excels with keeping a light, quick pacing throughout the film, making it a relatively fast, entertaining viewing experience at 98 minutes. Certain scenes are shown with split-screen camera angles so audiences can discern what the two characters are doing simultaneously. These sequences work well in tone with the humorous, whodunnit premise, coupled with an upbeat, jazzy score by Daniel Pemberton.

See How They Run is like a satisfying appetizer before the main dish. The film won’t fill you up completely but will provide enjoyment all the same. It stumbles around a bit later, but an energetic, charismatic cast and some slick direction make the film an enjoyable yet concise diversion. The film arrives in theaters on September 16.

The final score: review Good
The 411
See How They Run is a decent, old-fashioned cinematic whodunnit with a comedic gait. It's a light, breezy, and easy viewing experience on a rainy day. It features well-rounded, immensely talented actors playing well-executed characters with a stage-like, theatrical presence. This is appropriate considering the subject matter. See How They Run is not a singular masterpiece, but it is a welcome change of pace to enjoy a good ole murder mystery.