Capsule Review: See How They Run (2022)

At the beginning of the murder-mystery comedy See How They Run, Leo Köpernick (Adrien Brody) delivers a voiceover narration that says: “It’s a whodunit. You’ve seen one, you’ve seen ‘ em all.” He certainly isn’t kidding about the whodunit part of this movie because Tom George — marking his first feature-length film after directing TV series such as Hank Zipzer, Defending the Guilty and This Country — and screenwriter Mark Chappell choose to stick to the genre’s tropes.

Köpernick is an ambitious American movie director who wanted to direct the film adaptation of Agatha Christie’s successful 1952 London’s West End play, The Mousetrap. But he ends up dead in the theatre’s costume room after encountering a shadowy figure and his corpse is found in the sitting position on a couch on stage. Inspector Stoppard (Sam Rockwell) and rookie Constable Stalker (Saoirse Ronan) are both tasked to investigate the murder case. Among the potential suspects include the screenwriter Mervyn Cocker-Norris (David Oyelowo), movie producer John Woolf (Reece Shearsmith), theatre impresario Petula Spencer (Ruth Wilson) and young actor Richard Attenborough (Harris Dickinson).

Adrien Brody and Reece Shearsmith in "See How They Run" (2022)

The guess-who’s-the-murderer plot throughout the movie isn’t particularly interesting. Even by the time the inevitable reveal arrives, it’s neither shocking nor surprising. But it’s still fun to watch, thanks to the odd-couple onscreen partnership of Sam Rockwell and Saoirse Ronan. Rockwell’s alcoholic and world-weary personality of a police inspector strikes a nice contrast to Ronan’s enthusiastic turn as Constable Stalker. She’s undeniably charming and most of all, her hilariously deadpan performance is spot-on. And so does her comic timing. At one point, there’s an elaborate setpiece that has to do with Stalker’s habit of “jumping to conclusions” — easily one of the funniest moments in See How They Run. No doubt that Saoirse Ronan steals the show here and personally, I would like to see more of her embracing her impressive comedic abilities in future movies.

The rest of the otherwise colourful ensemble cast is a mixed bag, where David Oyelowo and Adrien Brody shine the most in their respective supporting turns as Meryn Cocker-Norris and Leo Köpernick. Tim Key, in the meantime, is simply funny as the sullen police commissioner, Harrold Scott. Some others like Ruth Wilson, Reece Shearsmith and Harris Dickinson are sadly reduced to underdeveloped side characters.

The movie’s 1950s London setting as well as the era-appropriate wardrobe and its rich period aesthetics reminiscent of a Wes Anderson style, albeit in a light touch. Tom George also has a field day utilising lots of split screens as if he tries to outdo Brian De Palma. The pace is reasonably brisk too, clocking at just 98 minutes long while Daniel Pemberton’s jazzy score deserves equal mention as well. If only the whodunit has the same wickedly entertaining and meta vibe as say, Rian Johnson’s Knives Out (2019), it would have been a better result than what we have here.

Leave a Reply