A murder mystery that lovingly spoofs Agatha Christie’s body of work, See How They Run is a whodunit worth watching. While celebrating the 100th performance of Christie’s The Mousetrap, a sleazy director, who plans to film the screen adaptation, is bludgeoned to death. The murder brings about Inspector Stoppard and excitable rookie Constable Stalker, played to perfection by both Sam Rockwell and the always luminous Saoirse Ronan. And like every good murder mystery, everyone within the theater is a suspect, not to mention a potential victim.
There’s no doubt that Stoppard is annoyed with Stalker’s presence. She’s a talker and an obsessive note taker and he’s a weary detective who’s not thrilled with having to show Stalker the ropes. It’s your typical bright eyed newbie and the grouchy veteran pairing, but Rockwell and Ronan are truly delightful on screen together.
I have to say, I really enjoyed the way the film deconstructs its own genre. Would-be director of The Mousetrap, Leo Köpernick (Adrien Brody), argues with screenwriter Mervyn Cocker-Norris (David Oyelowo) over Köpernick’s vision for the film’s ending. Köpernick, wants more action. Mervyn wants to stay true to Christie’s original ending. Köpernick wants flashbacks, which Mervyn calls lazy – which is fun, of course, given these particular scenes are flashbacks themselves.
Köpernick also points out that audiences only remember the last twenty minutes of a movie. I don’t necessarily agree with that, but I think people remember how the ending of a movie made them feel. I didn’t dislike See How They Run’s ending, but it’s certainly weaker than the rest of the movie. The big reveal isn’t as clever as a true Agatha Christie mystery, but I will say that it’s still a lot of fun and I think it’s more than okay to enjoy a movie for that reason alone. I’m honestly surprised how little I heard about this movie when it was released, which is a shame because it’s certainly one of the better movies I’ve watched this year!
See How They Run boasts a very impressive cast, gorgeous production design and a pretty clever script. It strikes a good balance between Christie’s own Murder on the Orient Express and 2019’s Knives Out, so if you’re a fan of either movie, or just of amusing murder mysteries in general, give this one a watch.