Review: See How They Run
Lisette Read finds See How They Run an entertaining yet derivative take on the popular “whodunnit” genre
As a big fan of the ‘who-dunnit’ genre, I was excited to watch director Tom George’s quick-witted movie ‘See How They Run’. With the aesthetic visuals of a Wes Anderson production, and its inspiration drawn from Agatha Christie’s ‘The Mousetrap’, the film had the potential to be as successful and gripping as, say, Knives Out (2019). Of course, this critique doesn’t make it a ‘bad movie’- ‘See How They Run’ was still an entertaining film- but at times, some elements just didn’t hit the mark as precisely as others did.
Set in 1950s London, ‘See How They Run’ opens at a celebration party for The Mousetrap play’s 100th show; this is where the murder takes place. After an array of glamorous visuals and a 10-minute introductory scene, we finally meet our main protagonists – the experienced Inspector Stoppard (Sam Rockwell) and the naive, newcomer female Police Constable Stalker (Saoirse Ronan). The case develops further, and we are introduced to a range of unique characters, including the cast and crew of the play, who lead the inspectors to ask ‘who-dunnit?’.
As mentioned before, this film has the visual aesthetic of a Wes Anderson film but as I write this article, it has occurred to me how similar everything in this movie is to his style – the framing, the consistency of the colour scheme and the editing. Even the casting, with Anderson regulars like Adrien Brody and Saoirse Ronan; the only thing missing was a random cameo from Owen Wilson. Obviously, it’s fine to take inspiration from other artists but when your art is so similar to your inspiration’s that they look exactly the same, then that’s a problem.
Obviously, it’s fine to take inspiration from other artists but when your art is so similar to your inspiration’s that they look exactly the same, then that’s a problem
Whilst some cast members are famous for their work with Anderson, the film also sheds a spotlight on other spectacular and talented actors, such as Ruth Wilson, Charlie Cooper and Sian Clifford. Their performances are all compelling, particularly Charlie Cooper’s, who plays Dennis, an usher. After watching him in This Country, seeing him in a big-budget film, like this, was very refreshing and allowed us to see his acting talents cross over the borders of the dumb-founded Kurtan. However, with such a staple cast, you’d expect this movie to have the same iconic charisma they do – despite some scenes being compelling, others are not. In some, I felt my attention diverting to the quick, intense shots, rather than what was actually happening. Though the editing of this film is mostly entertaining and used for comedic relief, at times it felt too intense and distracting. Moreover, some of the comedic timing of ‘See How They Run’ was a little off at times, with there either being too much time between jokes or too little.
Overall, ‘See How They Run’ is a primarily entertaining film, albeit feeling like a Wes Anderson knock-off at times.