See How They Run
Cozy And Very Witty
The 1950s London set comedy See How They Run is to the sentimentality towards the classic whodunit as the genre itself was to viewers when it was already a successful phenomenon in the same time and place of this little tale. It’s a recipe of following trails, humorous character exchanges, and (an admittingly predictable) revelation that while not what you specifically expected isn’t too unbelievable a pill to swallow. At the same time, See How They Run manages to take all of that sentimental and internal love for a genre so classic and celebrate it in a slivering snake pit of persistent chuckles and warm smiles.
In the West End of 1950s London, plans for a film adaptation of a smash hit play come to a screeching halt when a key member of the crew is murdered. Gloomy depressed Inspector Stoppard (Sam Rockwell) and peppy ambitious bubbly Constable Stalker (Saoirse Ronan) work together to find the murderer but the play is not canceled which throws them both into the theater’s underground surroundings and odd individuals.
The ongoing murder investigation excites people and draws more crowds to the theater constantly bringing Stoppard and Stalker back but never (To theater and film-obsessed Stalker’s disappointment) to watch the play. The production design really looks like 1950s London inside a sound stage but with enough sincerity of warmth and coziness that will make you want to live there - if you don’t die first.
The predictability of city life (Especially at the beginning of a new decade that’s struggling to recover from war and people are looking to the arts for happiness) is bound to be a familiar factor that multiple viewers will relate to. We all seek escape from reality by turning to plays and films. I strongly feel this has caused people to turn away from the stories that ought to be paid more attention but I can see the appeal of material that in a way allows viewers to play dress-up for a while. See How They Run really has such a carefree attitude to it, particularly in how effortlessly it dismantles its characters.
It’s not that they have no complexity - they just don’t have to. The ones who truly matter just have it in their nature to be themselves all the time. This lies mostly within Saoirse Ronan who just looks so adorable in her little constable outfit. She’s new to the force and she’s a little chatterbox who’s overly eager to do well. She has a little notepad and writes down everything, even the things that are of no importance. She loves the theater and her trying to get tickets from potential suspects while she and Stoppard are interviewing them is absolutely priceless.
She’s a sweet little soul with two young children and a husband who died fighting in the war. Stoppard has become a glum alcoholic following the collapse of a marriage he valued way more than he should’ve. They certainly aren’t an ideal match but for the purpose of a fun film, they’re dynamite together. They both need each other and while See How They Run doesn’t focus on their growing friendship as much as I’d have liked, Rockwell and Ronan’s acting slowly make them seem as though they’ve known each other forever.
See How They Run really doesn’t have anything that original to bring to the table of the whodunit genre. Instead, viewers are served a celebration of it (With some very fine touches regarding Agatha Christie towards the end) and for a film that’s a little over 90 minutes, this feels like enough. It’s no Knives Out but it’s sweet, cozy, lovely, and very witty. A good old-fashioned comedy in rainy London that’s able to bring a smile to even the quietest of individuals.