See How They Run

There have not been enough comedically tinged murder mysteries as big screen movies. Films such as Clue, Knives Out, Confess Fletch, and Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang are a lot of fun to watch, not just for the comedy, but also for the mystery.

One of the queens of the murder mystery is Agatha Christie and she was involved in one of the biggest successes on the stage in Mouse Trap, a play based on Christie’s work. The ending of which has been a closely guarded secret for years, In fact, the movie rights have been held up for years because there was a contract where a clause said that a movie could not be done until the play ended its theatrical run, and it has been going strong since.

That is one of the key points behind the latest murder mystery See How They Run, starring Sam Rockwell as Inspector Stoppard, who comes in to the theater to investigate after one of the key people involved in the movie adaptation is murdered. Stoppard is joined by inexperienced and gung-ho Constable Stalker (Saoirse Ronan), who is as much of a hinderance for Stoppard as an aid.

The cast is great. Along with Sam Rockwell and Saoirse Ronan, there are plenty of talented actors including David Oyelowo, Adrien Brody, Ruth Wilson, Charlie Cooper, Harris Dickinson, Reece Shearsmith, Pippa Bennett-Warner, Jacob Fortune-Lloyd, Sian Clifford, Maggie McCarthy, Ania Marson, Shirley Henderson and Tim Key.

Rockwell and Ronan are great together and both actors have a deft comic timing that really work in some of the more over-the-top moments of the film. They bring a sufficient energy to help carry a script that is okay, but not as clever as it thinks it is.

The beginning of the film is a little slow and does not truly take advantage of the comic situation that has been presented. However, when a second murder occurs, the film picks things up quite a bit, including a funny misunderstanding that pushes some characters in different directions.

I enjoyed this movie, but I have seen better murder mystery comedies than this one. The story could have been tighter and expand that initial murder more. The cast is top notch and elevates the material above where it would be without them. There is a meta-ness about the movie that I appreciated, since it is based around Mouse Trap and the real issues that went on with it. It is a quick and easy watch that is entertaining enough.

3.6 stars

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