Monday 18 September 2023

See How They Run - 2022 film

See How They Run is an enjoyable homage to Agatha Christie. The film opens at a celebratory party marking the 100th performance of The Mousetrap. An American director has been asked to oversee a film adaptation, a task that doesn't fill him with joy. He drinks too much and behaves boorishly and is promptly murdered backstage.

That's the set-up and the rest of the film is an enjoyable investigation into whodunit. Sam Rockwell plays Inspector Stoppard (and of course we recall that Stoppard wrote a wonderful send-up of plays in the style of The Mousetrap, The Real Inspector Hound). His sidekick, WPC Stalker, is played by Saoirse Ronan, although at first it's not clear whether she will prove to be a help or a hindrance.

There are some wonderfully funny lines in the script and some nice little easter eggs for the diehard fans to look out for - for instance, a passing reference to a dentist named Norman Gale, as in the character from Death in the Clouds. The likeable cast includes Reece Shearsmith, Ruth Wilson, and David Oyelowo. The plot is okay and although it lacks the brilliance of Christie's best work, I felt that it was as good as the storylines in Knives Out and its sequel (not everyone agrees, but that was my view). 

It's a sign of the times that such a tribute to Christie can enjoy such success. Only last week a statue to her was unveiled in Wallingford, another illustration of the esteem in which she's now held. We're living through a real renaissance of Golden Age fiction and although no doubt, like other fashions, it will pass, I believe that the widespread enthusiasm for classic crime means that fewer critics will sneer at traditional whodunits than used to be the case. They offer great entertainment, as does this film.


Liz Gilbey said...

As a retired theatre critic and judge, nothing annoys me more than the over qualified and over self important national media critics who come to a category they consider beneath their contempt (crime capers, satires, rom-coms, horror films....) and have their judgements made, and their reviews more or less written, before they even sit down to watch, and are as a result totally and unjustifiably scathing.
This film is fun and refreshing, and has a terrific cast. Sam Rockwell has always been terribly underrated, but from the wonderful and iconic Galaxy Quest to the unforgettable Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, always worth watching. I could go on......

Martin Edwards said...

Thanks, Liz. I never knew you were a theatre critic - is there no end to your accomplishments? I agree about the cast, definitely a fun film.

Liz Gilbey said...

For my sins, a career long journalist - as my late husband - and author. (Nothing of your class and standard, just magazines and now, in retirement, fan fiction in lieu of jigsaw puzzles and sudoku!) Accomplishments are very few. So don't ask me to add two and two to make anything relating to four. Or tell left from right. Or knit. Yep, there are very definite ends to my accomplishments! But thank you for the kind words!