Sunday, 17 July 2022

The Outfit (2022)

If you ever saw a film that looked like it was a stage play, then this is it! Apart from a few exterior shots of the front of the shop, it's all inside the shop, tightly held together as if live theatre. And a tidy little show it would be for an evening out as it verges on a whodunit!

It's the story of an English tailor with a past, running his shop in 1950's Chicago. Apparently trying to mind his own business, making top-quality suits for anyone with enough cash to afford his prices. Which inevitably means dealing with mobsters and other dubious characters.

Like any good whodunit, there are twists and turns along the way as the audience is left to guess which of the very few players has done this, that and the other - the elements which make up a plot involving much double-crossing, the FBI, rat-weedling, nasty people, nasty deeds and with some surprise outcomes surviving. As always with these tight dramas, the audience will be suspecting everyone from the outset, but it seems to conquer that anyway. Like a cross between a Hitchcock film, Patricia Highsmith play and Agatha Christie book!

Graham Moore holds things together here as director, having previously penned a very successful 2014 outing in The Imitation Game, here working alongside actor Johnathan McClain. Oscar winner Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies) plays the tailor Leonard, present in pretty much every scene (or Act) superbly well - the calm person in control as chaos unfolds around him! He holds the story together well and the elements fall into place as he conducts like a maestro.

Zoey Deutch (The Professor) is very capable and engaging as Mable, Leonard's secretary/receptionist, Dylan O'Brien (The Maze Runner) and Johnny Flynn (The Beast) equally as the 'sons' of mob boss and 'dad' Roy, played briefly but well by Simon Russell Beale (Operation Mincemeat, Operation Finale). There's a short but punchy appearance by Nikki Amuka-Bird (Old, Gold Digger) as the rival mob's head, pulling together a small team bringing us a very enjoyable story.

It is claustrophobic of course, which adds to the tension, the set is beautifully detailed to reflect the era and atmosphere is added aplenty by the winter setting, cold and snow falling outside. I would recommend a viewing if you can, currently available via various streaming services, but don't read any spoilers so you can enjoy the ride!

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