See how they work2022.
Directed by Tom George.
Starring Sam Rockwell, Saoirse Ronan, Reece Shearsmith, Adrien Brody, David Oyelowo, Ruth Wilson, Charlie Cooper, Sian Clifford, Harris Dickinson, and Pearl Chanda.
In 1950s London’s West End, plans for a film version of a blockbuster play come to an abrupt halt after a critical member of the crew is murdered.
Crime novels have captivated audiences for decades, often drawing on elements drawn from Agatha Christie. Marple either Poirot novels and that culminates with the suspects gathered in a room to find out who the murderer is. The screen crime novel has seen something of a renaissance in recent years with the financial (if not critical) success of Kenneth Branagh. Poirot adaptations that find an audience and, of course, the star of Rian Johnson knives out a resounding success, with a sequel just around the corner.
The latest crime novel to hit the big screen is the long-awaited See how they work of from this country tom george The film narrates a murder after a party to celebrate the function number 100 of Agatha Christie’s. Mousetrap, with film director Leo Köpernick (Adrien Brody) as the victim. Everyone involved in the planned film adaptation seems to have a motive to make in Köpernick, who had a unique ability to make enemies.
The film itself is set in the context of the Mousetrap, perhaps one of the most famous crime novels of all, and still going strong in the West End. The film’s cast is of course one of its main draws, as it features Hollywood heavyweights Sam Rockwell as Inspector Stoppard, Saoirse Ronan as Constable Stalker, and a who’s who of British film and television who complete the cast, including inside numbers 9 Reece Shearsmithof Luther Ruth Wilson, flea bag Sian Clifford, rising star Harris Dickinson as Richard Attenborough and David Oyelowo in a charming turn as playwright Mervyn Cocker-Norris.
There’s a sheer sense of fun, abandon, and infectious energy that runs through the film’s veins, and the interaction between Rockwell and Ronan, in particular, is nothing short of delightful as they battle, with Stalker’s over-enthusiasm offset by his attitude. Stoppard’s seedier approach to detective work. Mark Chappell’s crisp script is delivered with aplomb by the leads. Ronan here gets a chance to showcase her skills as a comedic actress that have been glimpsed in her work with Wes Anderson. Outside of our central couple, the cast manages to make the most of relatively light screen time as it’s a strong ensemble, Ruth Wilson’s sharp Petula Spencer and Shearsmith’s John Woolf standing out in particular.
Everyone involved clearly loves the genre it pokes fun at but it’s also reverential, delivering plenty of classic clichés and expected story beats while managing to deliver an intriguing investigation of its own with its fair share of twists and turns. While numerous Agatha Christie novels and film works are of course referenced, there are Hitchcock undertones with the 1950s setting and Dial M for murder win a mention and moments of physical comedy are reminiscent of Blake Edwards Pink Panther Films.
The 1950s setting helps differentiate the film from contemporary crime fiction and highlights comparisons to Christie’s work. Credit must go to the production design team who have brought the early 1950s West End to life with flair and Daniel Pemberton’s jazz-infused score helps propel the action. There’s also a delightful use of Richard Hawley’s Born Under a Bad Sign that complements the mood of the film perfectly, in one particularly melancholy moment.
See how they work is an entertaining, often hilarious twist on the whodunit, making the most of its ’50s setting while paying homage to and poking fun at classic works of the genre. Clearly the cast is having a great time and there are some nice stylistic flourishes reminiscent of ’50s and ’60s movies with a few quick cuts. Comparisons to Wes Anderson are understandable with the color palette and comedy reminiscent of some of his work, not to mention the fact that Brody and Ronan are regulars of his, but this is a criticism the film evades, proving its own beast. and standout in a genre that has had its fair share of classics over the years. There is still life in the whodunit still.
Flashing Myth Rating: Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★