The Outfit

As I was going through Peacock today looking to see if there was anything of interest that I could watch on a Sunday afternoon, I came across The Outfit, a film that I had heard good things about and that I had planned on, eventually, renting on Vudu. However, now I did not have to because the film was streaming for free on my Peacock subscription.

Mark Rylance starred as Leonard, a high brow English tailor (though he would argue that distinction. He said he was a cutter, and that a tailor only sewed on buttons) in a small shop in Chicago that was patronized by members of the Boyle crime family. Leonard would look the other way as gangster would use a drop off box in his back room as a message port and as a stash box for dirty money.

Things become more complicated one night when Richie (Dylan O’Brien), son of the crime boss Roy (Simon Russell Beale) and chief enforcer Francis (Johnny Flynn) came into the shop. Richie had been shot in the side and was bleeding. Francis forced Leonard at gunpoint to stitch Richie up with thread from the shop.

Francis told Leonard that they had been ambushed over a tape that everybody wanted, that had been recorded by a “rat” working for the FBI. Francis needed to find a device in which to play the tape, so he left Leonard to watch over the wounded Richie.

In an attempt to get out of this situation, Leonard started to play Richie and Francis against one another. This led to an evening of violence and lies.

I loved this movie. I was engrossed by the entire story and I was fascinated by the performance of Mark Rylance. He was just great as he manipulated each situation that happened next. You could feel how each second, Leonard felt on edge, but was continuing to do what he could to maintain events.

You could tell that there was more to Leonard’s story than what we were getting, but since he was showing himself to be a complex liar, you were never really sure what the truth of the moment was or how much of it was just fiction.

Leonard’s receptionist, Mable (Zoey Deutch), was involved in the story as well, bringing a new wrinkle to what Leonard was hoping to accomplish. Zoey Deutch does a great job creating a character that you care about and that you believe Leonard would go out of his way to help.

Graham Moore, who won an Oscar for Best Adaptation of The Imitation Game and was the author of one of my favorite books, The Sherlockians, had his directorial debut in this film as well as co-writing the screenplay. I found all of the shots to be very effective and all of the pieces of the story came together extremely well. This would be a solid debut in the director’s chair for anyone.

The Outfit was a tense and enthralling gangster tale, told in a different manner than most of the others. The single area of the tailor shop helped build the feeling of everything collapsing in at once and you can’t help but wonder how Leonard would get out of the situation.

4.5 stars

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