The Outfit (2022) review – spins a bloody good yarn

May 5, 2022
M.N. Miller 0
Film Reviews
3.5

Summary

The Outfit is a well-crafted and satisfying whodunit with a performance by Rylance that guides the film like a steady hand.

3.5

Summary

The Outfit is a well-crafted and satisfying whodunit with a performance by Rylance that guides the film like a steady hand.

This review of the film The Outfit (2022) does not contain spoilers.   

The Outfit spins a bloody good yarn. This wouldn’t be possible without a lead performance by Mark Rylance, one that is as steady a hand as his character’s. Along with a well-constructed script, the whole experience unravels into the most polite yet grisly finish you may have seen in quite a while. When is the last time someone courteously explains why he is not the man to mess with before cutting a man down to size? A throw-back popcorn film that sits back to watch when men are left in tight rooms and left to their own devices.

Here, we have a cutter (not a tailer) named Leonard, who owns a small clothing shop in Chicago. An Englishman who learned his craft on the famed Savile Row. He has built a reputation for clothing men with the finest threads. He has a lineup of affluent clients, like a local mobster (Operation Mincemeat’s Simon Russell Beale), his spoiled son, Richie (Infinite’s Dylan O’Brien), and his shadow/henchmen Francis (The Dig’s Johnny Flynn). Working for him is a blunt secretary, Mable (Buffaloed’s Zoey Deutch), with a collection of snow globes and involved with Richie. 

The mobsters use Leonard’s shop as a drop for money and communication. This has been going on for years. Yet, the man continues to customize his threads while men come in at all hours to drop off their packages. Soon the heat is turned up as an infamous and shadowy organization called The Outfit walks into town. They begin to drop off packages, including a tape. If this gets into the wrong hands, it will take down the entire operation.

Making his directorial debut, Graham Moore (2014 Oscar winner for The Imitation Game‘s Best Adapted Screenplay) has delivered a constantly evolving whodunit that satisfies as it goes along. The script, also written by Graham and co-writer Johnathan McClain (Mad Men), keeps peeling back a small layer. Revealing a small plot, character admissions, or the slightest manipulation pushes the plot forward and into satisfying twists. 

You can argue the twists lack the big jaw-dropping moment, which is true. In fact, the big mystery involving who the mole in the organization is you can see coming a mile away. However, Moore and McClain recognize that and that is just one of a half-dozen that always keeps your attention. 

It’s a nice cast, though I am not sure O’Brien and Deutch, two fine young actors, mesh well with the rest here. For one, everyone besides Rylance has varied Chicago/midwest accents. The story would have been served better with two actors with a bit more grit and verve, like the qualities that Flynn brings to the role as Francis.

What you do have is a turn by Rylance that is wonderfully nuanced and constantly surprising. He elevates the role with a type of patience you just don’t see in the mystery/thriller genre. Every action, just like him cutting up his custom men’s suits, is purposeful and meticulous. A character actor at heart, there are very few actors that are as generous with a scene as the Academy Award-winning actors. It’s a lead performance that practically helps out the supporting players.

Simply put, Rylance is the real deal and can never be mistaken for a knock-off.

What did you think of the film The Outfit (2022)? Comment below!

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