See How They Run is a comical whodunnit, which lovingly spoofs the murder mystery genre with the care and affection that only a sincere parody can provide.
There are some great laughs, but it builds towards a disappointing conclusion. The film is certainly funny, but it’s hardly a mystery of Agatha Christie’s calibre.
Our leading duo consists of the eager and excitable rookie Constable Stalker (Saoirse
Ronan) and her boozy superior officer Inspector Stoppard (Sam Rockwell).
The pair have a deliberately clichéd buddy-cop dynamic but, like much of the rest of the film, their performance is delivered with a wry self-aware wink. They two play off one another nicely, Ronan especially has an endearing enthusiasm which makes her character immediately likable.
Amongst the rest of the cast, special mention should go to David Oyelowo’s performance as the smug playwright Mervyn Cocker-Norris. Oyelowo injects the character with such a degree of pretentious pomposity that each of his scenes is instantly iconic.
See How They Run never takes itself too seriously. It mocks old murder mystery tropes: such as the crime occurring on a dark and stormy night and gathering all of the suspects in the drawing room. Once parodied, each of these ideas is then coyly played straight with unsubtle, but undoubtedly funny, execution.
See How They Run’s chief fault is that it doesn’t quite manage to strike the right balance between silliness and seriousness.
The final reveal lands with an anti-climactic thud, and the culprit is decidedly uninteresting. The finale is not a complete flop, as it is rescued by the main duo’s sheer likability and some clever call backs.
See How They Run is a good time, though it is definitely targeted towards an audience looking to have a bit of fun poking holes in detective story clichés, rather than one looking for a gripping mystery to unravel.
Featured image credit: Parisa Taghizadeh/Searchlight Pictures