Young director Graham Moore makes his full-feature directorial debut in “The Outfit” a noir crime-drama with strong elements of mystery starring Mark Rylance, Zoey Deutch, Dylan O’Brien, and Johnny Flynn. Moore co-writes this time-period set tale centering on a quiet mannered tailor named Leonard played by Mark Rylance. Leonard keeps his focus on his craft as he suits local mobsters and when a night brings violence to his doorstep Leonard will have to keep a move ahead of the evolving evening of events if he wants to be alive come sunup.
What “The Outfit” thrives on is the ever-evolving mystery of the story progression. Not only the night of events, but the characters themselves develop as this plot unfolds and that was appealing. As the viewer you are constantly unsure of who is playing who? Who can be trusted? And where films often twist themselves to convoluted levels. This movie is able to seamlessly explore a game of cat-and-mouse with meticulous detail that can easily keep the viewer engaged and churning mentally to figure out what the truth is and to keep up. Something I think any good mystery needs to be considered a success.
In addition to a storyline that peels the layers back like a tasty onion is pristine production design. This movie isn’t flashy. But it’s detailed. The wardrobes, backdrops, and lighting create a charming noir atmosphere to embrace this intricate plotline. Moore’s direction is subtle, he doesn’t try to over stylize the visual appeal either which is able to keep the fun dated vibe going strong. While also allowing Moore to just focus on the basics, to which he shines in his debut. Moore captures the tension of the many uneasy situations, and he frames the characters effectively to showcase the emotional intensity right when the story needs to hit the dramatic punch.
Mark Rylance was simply put, fantastic. He delivers a moody, unassuming performance. You constantly feel like there is something else behind this character that you aren’t seeing. You can feel it simmering under the surface and the performance from Rylance knocks it out of the park. Despite appearing to be the contrary in many scenes, he always maintains control, he’s smart, razor sharp, and cunning. Rylance captures it all and still is able to create this warm inviting aura to his demeanor that will make you want to know more about him.
Deutch, O’Brien, Amuka-Bird, and Flynn round out the cast with excellent performances. Deutch and Rylance have such a warm chemistry together. Flynn and O’Brien bring the story plenty of intensity, and despite feeling a bit underused Amuka-Bird fills her character out nicely and makes an impression with little screen time to work with. And overall, there is a great ensemble here to carry this dialogue driven drama.
It will require some patience. This is a slow-burn and there is a bit of a lull in the middle act. Yet with so many quality elements working together, if you let yourself fall into the mystery it will pull you into the era and into the web of crime. It doesn’t have a ton of action, but with a tightly written script there is endless tension and plenty of interesting characters to dive into and have fun with.
Anthony J. Digioia II © 2022 SilverScreen Analysis. All Rights Reserved.