See how they run a funny and funny Agatha Christie adjacent farce

Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap is the world’s longest-running play. It’s been staged in London since 1952 and if there wasn’t a nasty covid hiatus, it would be 70 years of uninterrupted performance this month.

Now if you already know that then kidding about the mousetrapThe seemingly endless series after 100 performances in 1953 is going to land much harder.

Or maybe you can appreciate that See how they walk‘s character is called Inspector Stoppard, a reference to Tom Stoppard and his the mousetrap parody, The real inspector dog.

The funny and funny murder mystery See how they walk is all about those little Easter eggs, a series of scattered cues for lovers of the genre to notice and cherish. How clever, you’ll yell (silently), because let’s face it, fan service can be wonderful.

For Christie and golden age mystery fans, See how they walk‘s derivative nature is its attraction. The movie doesn’t do anything new, but it doesn’t try either, it’s all about coloring within the same lines, but maybe using a few different shades.

As to be expected, See how they walk begins with a murder, that of the brash American filmmaker Leo Kopernick (Adrien Brody), who tells us in voice-over that the most unlikely character is, of course, the one who gets murdered.

He is bludgeoned to death in the wardrobe department with his body moved onstage for the full dramatic effect of a gory scene.

Two cops, the feisty WPC Stalker (Saoirse Ronan) and the weary Detective Inspector Stoppard (Sam Rockwell), are on the case, revealing a procession of overheard secrets, plans and betrayals – and motives.

Everyone is a suspect or a potential victim, including the great playwright Mervyn Cocker-Norris (David Oyelowo, whose elongated, Vincent Price-esque pronunciation of “macaber” tickles a pink), the lead actor Richard Attenborough (Harris Dickinson), the philandering producer John Woolf (Reece Shearsmith), his wife Edana (Sian Clifford) and imperious star Petula Spencer (Ruth Wilson).

You know the killer is part of this locked set, a name already written in WPC Stalker’s little red notebook – any real anomaly would be sacrilegious.

Where to see how they walk more playful is the injection of style and farce from director Tom George and writer Mark Chappell.

The film uses a lot of physical comedy to add a bit of fun, while some camera techniques, such as symmetrical shots, quick editing, and staged framing, evoke Wes Anderson’s form. The inclusion of frequent Anderson players Ronan and Brody adds to that impression.

See how they walk is not as sharp as Blades off nor so absurdly over-the-top as Notebut it knows where to romp – be smart but not too smug, be knowing but not too philosophical, be reverent but not too old.

It’s a well-paced, intriguing and mischievous set that will captivate Christie fans without challenging the grand dame of mystery.

Rating: 3/5

See How They Run in theaters now

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