The Reel Review
When a key crewmember of an upcoming movie adaptation of Agatha Christie’s successful stage play “The Mousetrap” is killed on set in 1953 London, the play’s entire cast and crew become suspects, as well as potential murder targets. Sam Rockwell and Saoirse Ronan star as the investigators rushing to solve the mystery in this whodunit spoof about a murder at a whodunit play.
With a cast of eccentric characters waltzing around in period costumes, spouting off cheeky inside jokes, self-aware meta-commentary and references to mystery author Agatha Christie and her other novels, the premise of See How They Run initially looks to be a promisingly cute, self-deprecating valentine to hardcore fans of the murder mystery genre. The screenplay, however, is where it drops the ball. It is exceptionally dull.
As the world-weary detective and his novice sidekick who’s frequently jumping to conclusions, Rockwell and Ronan do the best they can with a screenplay that often feels a little too precious and proud of its clever word play than in delivering actual laughs. With a look and quirky cadence reminiscent of a Wes Anderson film, See How They Run is successful only in reminding us how much better Anderson is at doing Anderson, as it sputters to a lackluster, forgettable finalé.
• “The Mousetrap” is the longest running play in history, with more than 28,000 performances since it opened in London’s West End in 1952, pausing only for the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
• The announcer heard on the radio during the performance of “The Mousetrap” in See How They Run is the actual 1952 recording made by the late actor Deryck Guyler, which is still in use in the stage play to this day. Additionally, the clock above the fireplace is the sole remaining prop still in use from the original opening night of the show on October 6, 1952.
• Hugh Grant and Keira Knightley were the initial choices to star when the film was first conceived several years ago.
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