A fair share of murder mysteries have graced the big screen this year, some well-received, some not so much. Earlier in the year there was the sequel to Murder On The Orient Express, the Kenneth Branagh led Death On The Nile, which came out to mediocre response. Coming out of the press tour from hell due to the bombshell reports of Armie Hammer, who is in the film, is no easy task and it must not have sat well with movie-goers. While being a solid box office miss, it also received a consistent flow of lackluster reviews echoing tales of redundancy and unoriginality.
Fast forward to now and we have the wonderful Glass Onion, from Rian Johnson, out on Netflix. The latest Benoit Blanc mystery is garnering critical acclaim and setting the world aflame with Blanc's fashion taste. Feel free to catch up on all the great things about Glass Onion in our article here!
Little did anybody realize there was a third murder mystery sandwiched between these two films that no one is talking about. Featuring a detective duo of Sam Rockwell and Saoirse Ronan, the film See How They Run has flown under the radar since debuting on HBOMax on September 16th. Set in 1950's London the film follows Inspector Stoppard (Rockwell) and Constable Stalker (Ronan) investigating the murder of film director Leo Köpernick (Adrien Brody) as he was attempting to make a film adaptation of the famed play, The Mousetrap. The play within the film, being an Agatha Christie sourced play, is a little tongue in cheek overtone for the film and sets the stage for the "meta" themes throughout.
Starting with Brody's Köpernick narrating the tired tropes of the murder mystery is a great entrance and locks you in on the various gags that you might see in the following film. This makes for a fairly entertaining first act given Brody's charisma in playing a detestable character like the American director. As the first 20 minutes or so roll on through you begin to realize that everything Köpernick is saying has come true and you're somehow hooked into watching something so predictable the character within it is giving everything away!
Littered throughout the film are some great sarcastic moments poking fun at the murder mystery genre as a whole and this very film they take place in. Outlining exactly what will happen multiple times plays well into the hand of the film not taking itself seriously with the eager Constable Stalker and the weary Inspector Stoppard contributing some solid chemistry and comedic moments to the mix.
However, the film really struggles to keep itself coherent through the second and third acts. The strong sarcastic tone keeps the first act entertaining, but it lags through the second act as the film slows, muddling its tone of meta-sarcasm, serious mystery, and intermittent character development. This concoction of conflicting tone results in a forgettable middle portion culminating in a lackluster finale that again, is forgettable.
How forgettable is it you ask??
Well if I'm being completely honest, I don't quite remember what even happens. All I know is Brody's Köpernick was spot-on in the beginning narration, which is pretty funny, and it was some background character that steps forward as the killer in the finale. Overall, there were some good moments mixed in but slowing to a snail's pace in the back two-thirds of the film prevents me from calling See How They Run anything other than a snoozefest.
A film taking place in 1950's London?? Well, seeing as I'm something of a world traveler myself I felt pretty in tune with this one. The only appropriate beverage for a film set 70 some years ago is one celebrating the one constant over that time period, Queen Elizabeth II and the Platinum Jubilee.
Another beer from the Samuel Smith brewery, the Winter Welcome Ale, recently had a redesign for a label celebrating the 70th year of Queen Elizabeth's reign- the Platinum Jubilee. It seems apropos that Yorkshire's oldest brewery releases a special version of their beer to celebrate the longest ruling monarch in history, and that it pairs with a movie taking place when she ascended the throne.
The ale itself is quite a treat. A nice caramel-amber color greets you out of the bottle along with an aroma akin to fresh baked pastries hints at its malt forward flavors. This malt-forward profile mixes nicely with some classic England brewing choices like Fuggle and Golding hops, giving it a well balanced bitterness. On the back end of the taste the brew develops its winter warmer label as you get a nice boozy splash along with some sweet flavors like apricot, plum, figs, toffee and a pinch of caramel.
The Winter Welcome Ale helps transport you to the setting of the film and accents a lot of the cold rainy shots with warm comfort, making for a wonderful pairing albeit with a mediocre film.
Winter Welcome Ale Winter Ale - English | 6% ABV Samuel Smith Brewery @samuelsmithsbrewery