Review: You should be running to the movies to watch ‘See How They Run’


Photo credit: Searchlight Pictures

“See How They Run” is a a new whodunnit film set in the 1950s starring Sam Rockwell and Saoirse Ronan.

Amber Carver, Staff Writer

“See How They Run” is a comedic mystery, which is set in the west end of London during the 1950s. There, plans to film a movie adaptation of what was previously a smash-hit play had to be abruptly halted. One of the leads for the movie had been murdered under unusual circumstances.
The film was directed by Tom George, actually becoming the first feature-length film that he has directed. He is known for directing a few series of a critically acclaimed BBC television program called “This Country,” as well as a few other films of more minor fame. In addition to his directing experience, he has won four BAFTAs for his writing accomplishments.
Most of the writing was done by Mark Chappell, who has previously written for a few BBC television programs, as well as a few lesser known films, such as “Flake” (2016). Despite this, he brings expertly crafted dialogue and scenes to the table in “See How they Run.”
The film focuses on quite the dynamic duo, who are faced with the daunting task of catching the killer. Sam Rockwell is in the spotlight, playing the gruff-demeanored Inspector Stoppard. Saoirse Ronan plays the role of his sidekick, the quirky Constable Stalker.
Throughout the course of the film, running around an hour and a half in length, the two solidify themselves as a fine example of how characters can build off of each other to make a movie an even better experience. Their witty and effortless banter is meant to evoke laughter from audiences, and it does exactly that. They also use glances and other facial expressions throughout the film, which further their connection in the eyes of the audience.
As the film progresses, tension builds between the two. First, it is the tension of an inspector, set in his ways, being faced with his challenging new partner, who is puppy-eyed and eager to learn the ropes. Eventually the tension turns into that of a more romantic direction.
Romance certainly isn’t the main goal of the movie. However, having such a development between the two leads doesn’t take away from the true focus of the movie whatsoever. Instead, it serves to attract an entirely different demographic of viewers, who will become immediately immersed into the plot in no time at all.
As for the atmosphere created by the film, it truly is that of the 1950s, paying homage to film of the time. The lighting, the costumes, absolutely everything, draw readers back to that whimsical, yet sometimes cheesy, time in history. There is always something interesting to look at on screen, even during what would otherwise be considered a dull moment.
As is typical of for the murder-mystery genre, there are a lot of suspenseful moments and finger pointing. “See How They Run” keeps viewers engaged in the drama, but it never takes itself too seriously. It is a comedy, after all.
In general, the movie puts viewers in the mind of movies like “Knives Out” (2019) with its long, often comedic, whodunnit scenarios. In terms of fleshing out the plot within certain areas, “See How They Run” did seem to fall a bit short in comparison to other films of its nature. Not every film can be a masterpiece, but that doesn’t mean they fall short of being good movies either.
As little bits of plot are revealed, the audience scrambles to try to figure out who the killer may be. The film does an excellent job at keeping viewers off the scent. In doing so, it makes finding out the true identity of the killer so much more rewarding, making the movie almost impossible to walk away from.
The film is an excellent way to kick off the fall season of movie viewing. It truly has a little something to offer for everyone. Every aspect of the movie shows deliberate care and effort, which is something that tends to be absent in quite a few cookie-cutter movies being produced in more recent years.