The Outfit (15)Cast: Zoey Deutch, Dylan O'Brien, Simon Russell Beale, Johnny Flynn, Mark Rylance
Author(s): Graham Moore, Johnathan McClain
Director: Graham Moore
Release Date: 08/04/2022
Running Time: 105mins
Leonard is a quietly spoken "cutter" from London, who learnt his trade on Savile Row and has relocated to 1956 Chicago. The premises are used as a drop-off point by associates of the mob headed by Roy Boyle, his son Richie and right-hand man Francis to collect brown paper envelopes stuffed with cash. When a mysterious organisation called The Outfit tips off Boyle that he has a mole in his organisation, Leonard and his assistant Mable are unwittingly drawn into the hunt for a traitor.
LondonNet Film Review
The Outfit (15)
The first cut is the deepest in Graham Moore’s handsomely tailored thriller but the other 227 steps, which transform 38 pieces of cotton, silk, mohair and wool into a two-piece suit, are just as meticulous and elegant. Set almost entirely in four interconnected rooms of a bespoke men’s atelier in 1950s Chicago, this bruising battle of wills feels like it must have begun life as a suspenseful stage play. In fact, The Outfit is an original work of bullet-riddled fiction fashioned by co-writers Johnathan McClain and Moore, the latter making an impressive directorial debut several years after he collected an Academy Award for his screenplay to The Imitation Game…
Alan Turing would have cracked the coded conversations between characters before a final act of steadily spiralling tension fuelled by the incendiary lead performance of chameleonic fellow Oscar winner Mark Rylance. “You cannot make something good until you understand who you’re making it for,” quietly explains his Savile Row-trained craftsman in an opening voiceover that revels in the painstaking precision of handmade couture. Heeding those words, the script doesn’t take us for fools, holding our attention in a chokehold with emotionally charged interrogations that venerate the art of coolly saying one thing when you mean something else.
Mild-mannered widower Leonard Burling (Rylance) is a master craftsman with a pair of shears, who creates impeccable garments for the tough-talking men of 1956 Chicago. He runs a shop, L Burling Bespoke, with chatterbox receptionist Mable (Zoey Deutch), who dreams of travelling the world. In the back room of Leonard’s inauspicious premises is a lockbox used by associates of the mob headed by Roy Boyle (Simon Russell Beale).
Leonard turns a blind eye to visits from Roy’s son Richie (Dylan O’Brien) and right-hand man Francis (Johnny Flynn) to collect brown paper envelopes stuffed with cash. “If we only let angels be customers, soon we’d have no customers at all,” he quietly reminds Mable. When a mysterious organisation called The Outfit tips off Boyle about a mole in his organisation, Leonard and Mable are unwittingly drawn into the hunt for a traitor. Sharp words are traded as Boyle demands a swift resolution before his fierce rival Violet LaFontaine (Nikki Amuka-Bird) can take advantage of gangland loyalties strained by suspicion.
The Outfit is constructed almost as artfully as one of Leonard’s suits, using bone-crunching violence as last resort when menacing words fail to draw blood. Rylance is masterful as an unassuming pawn in a deadly game of strategy and subterfuge, gelling splendidly with Deutch’s dreamer and Flynn’s hot-headed thug. The shop feels increasingly claustrophobic as Moore tightens the thumb screws and ambushes our expectations. “Perfection is impossible,” suggests Leonard. He’s right – there are wrinkles in the film’s finishing touches – but, for a first feature, The Outfit certainly makes the cut.
– Kim Hu
UK and Irish Cinemas Showing The Outfit
From: Friday 13th May
To: Thursday 19th May
From: Friday 20th May
To: Thursday 26th May
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