See How They Run (2022)

September 18th, 2022
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir: Tom George | Cast: Sam Rockwell, Saoirse Ronan, Adrien Brody, Ruth Wilson, Reece Shearsmith, Harris Dickinson, David Oyelowo, Charlie Cooper, Pippa Bennett-Warner, Pearl Chanda, Sian Clifford, Jacob Fortune-Lloyd | UK Drama 98′

Agatha Christie’s long-running play The Mousetrap finally gets a film version of sorts in this character-laden farce carried by a brilliant comedy performance from Saoirse Ronan.

On a snowy night in London’s Soho, 1953, she is police constable Stalker, called in to investigate the murder of the director hired ‘to make the film version less boring than the play’, after its 100th staging.

The dead man turns out to be accident-prone Leo Köpernick (Adrien Brody in Wes Andersen mode) a friendless American who sees an opportunity to reinvent the play for Hollywood, with his philandering producer John Woolf (Reece Shearsmith). Obviously that’s not going to happen, but what comes next is a cosy re-imagining of the good old days of post war whodunnits positively bristling with roaring fires, red herrings and a starry cast, although none shines as brightly as Ronan whose perfect timing lights up every scene.

Not so her boss Sam Rockwell (Inspector Stoppard) whose shifty behaviour and muffled attempt at a cockney accent strike a bum note in this amusing, if confusing, comedy caper (too much editing, Ed). And this is a glaring plothole because writer Mark Chapell has him as one of the main characters in his dawdling script, but from Stoppard’s shifty demeanour it starts to feel like he may actually be a suspect. Or is that just another red herring?.

Harris Dickinson plays The Mousetrap’s dapper lead Richard Attenborough and Pearl Chanda his wife, Sheila Sim. Ruth Wilson shines as the glossy but tight-fisted impresario Petula Spencer. Shirley Henderson is magnificent as a crusty old Agatha Christie in what turns out to be a rather entertaining cameo role – shame there wasn’t more of her – and David Oyelowo is the pompous writer Mervyn Cocker-Norris, let’s forget about his preposterous Latin lover Gio (Fortune-Lloyd).

See How They Run is all a bit hit and miss but the silliness is half the fun, and it really does look rather super, especially the scene where they all arrive, after receiving a mysterious invite, at Christie’s stately mansion in deepest Berkshire.

The Mousetrap is one of theatre land’s most iconic plays and started life as Agatha Christie’s 1947 radio play called Three Blind Mice. Later adapted into a TV film, and then a short story before taking to the stage in October 1952, it’s still going strong at St Martin’s Theatre seven decades later. Sadly See How They Run will probably soon be a distant memory. MT









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