Thursday, September 15, 2022

See How They Run – you’ll not need a degree in Agathology to enjoy this comedic whodunit

See How They Run is inspired by Agatha Christie murder mysteries, in particular The Mousetrap, a whodunit play that’s been running in London’s West End since 1952, only halting for Covid.

When a visiting American director who wants to adapt The Mousetrap is found murdered, Police Inspector Stoppard is teamed up with fledgling Constable Stalker to solve the case. Sam Rockwell’s Stoppard is gin-fuelled and irascible, uncomfortable with his novice partner’s presence, and uncomfortable with his solo homelife.

Stalker (played by Saoirse Ronan) doesn’t let the facts stand in the way of voicing a precarious hypothesis, talks nineteen to the dozen, and is full of unintentional quips, celebrity trivia, impromptu impressions and unknowing nods to Christie (“perhaps they were all in it together sir” she wonders early on in the investigation).

Jamie Ramsay’s distinctive cinematography and the editing by Gary Dollner/Peter Lambert visually emphasises the multiple perspectives that must be considered when solving a murder, at least when solving it in the style of a post-war Christie story. Director Tom George takes Mark Chappell’s already witty script and adds even more comedy through daft physicality, knowing nods to film conventions, and zany characterisation. The execution of the Mousetrap-esque finale is pleasing in its mirroring of scenes from the stage play at the heart of the story.

Fans of Christie in general, and The Mousetrap in particular, will enjoy spotting the familiar plot devices. Audience members who want to sit back and be entertained will be enthralled by the Soppard/Stalker partnership, though, like me, they may wonder just how much material around the characters’ backstories was filmed but then removed in the edit to achieve a pacy 98-minute runtime.

With no obvious pretensions, See How They Run is a frivolous spoof comedy that doesn’t require a degree in Agathology to enjoy. You’ll find it at Queen’s Film Theatre, Strand Arts Centre, as well as the Odeon, Movie House and Omniplex cinemas.


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