‘The Outfit’ is a Finely Tailored Hitchcockian Noir Thriller

Sommerleigh Pollonais, Senior Writer

Plot: An expert cutter must outwit a dangerous group of mobsters in order to survive a fateful night.

Review: They don’t make ‘em like this anymore. I know I’m sounding like your grandma after she’s finished watching a documentary on how hot Humphrey Bogart was or whatever, but I honestly think film-noir thrillers that focus on developing the characters as much as it does telling a great story are rarer than any upcoming Will Smith movies (that’s my first and last of those, I promise!).

This, my dear, is called a cassette

Don’t let the movie poster fool you, The Outfit isn’t your run of the mill action movie with modern day mobsters. Instead this movie is a love letter to the classics of the genre and is set in the timeline of that era. Our main protagonist is Englishman and expert cutter (don’t call him a tailor) Leonard played by Mark Rylance. My introduction to Rylance was in Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies where he basically stole every scene he was in. He’s widely regarded as the greatest stage actor of his generation and now that he has graced us with his presence on the silver screen I’m left wishing I could’ve seen more of his work. To say Rylance was tailor made (get it? okay, I’ll stop now) for this role is an understatement and I honestly feel like no other actor could’ve pulled off such a crafty, nuanced yet deeply likeable personality the way he does.

He’s joined here by a small but talented cast of actors such as Dylan O’Brien (The Maze Runner trilogy, Love and Monsters, American Assassin) as Richie the son of a Mafia Don, Zoey Deutch (The Politican, Set it Up) as Leonard’s receptionist Mable, Johnny Flynn (Lovesick, Stardust) as Richie’s reluctant bodyguard Francis, and Simon Russell Beale (Into the Woods, The Death of Stalin) as head honcho in charge and Richie’s father Roy. There is not an ounce of fat on any of these performances in my opinion as everyone plays their part to near perfection. I’ve never heard of Johnny Flynn before but the man epitomises old school gangster, with his on the spot dialect and cunningly ruthless personality. Dylan O’Brien is a young actor who I think is just waiting for that one role to truly show what he can do. I think this is the first time I’ve seen him in a villainous role but you know what? I bought it. Even Nikki Amuka-Bird (Old, Gold Digger) makes her brief scene as La Fontaine memorable. This movie could’ve easily ended up as something interesting but forgettable, if not for the solid performances of everyone involved.

I see filming on Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom 2 is coming along well. Courtesy of Focus Features

The cinematography and score work very well together to evoke the period the story is set in, so well in fact I honestly didn’t notice 95 percent of this movie takes place in one location! The pacing is perfect, the editing keeps things tight and the story itself, well, it’s best left vague here. And I for one recommend seeing this the way I did, with no information (trailers suck these days am I right?) to spoil the fly-on-the-wall experience of watching this Hitchcockian thriller unravel.

By the near end I was ready to give this one a perfect score; that’s how much I enjoyed it. But for reasons known only to writers Johnathan McClain and Graham Moore (who also directed), they added an extra five minutes to the story it most certainly didn’t need. I was already sold on everything that went down, I didn’t need what felt like a tacked on action sequence to further show or explain why this person was the way he was. It soured things a bit for me and took away from a story that at that point was pitch perfect. Some people just don’t know when enough is enough.

I got something on my shirt? Yeah, like I’m gonna fall for that trick

That said, I think this is one of the best films I’ve seen of the year so far. It’s feels classic and modern all at the same time while telling the kind of noir-styled tale I always enjoy. Simply put, The Outfit is a perfect fit (okay, that is definitely the last one).

Sommer’s Score: 8 out of 10

And you can check out more great old school-styled thriller content below:


2755F829-2EEC-4A68-B6F7-F963F48C9D92 Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever, and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.

Double Tap Baby!

Read More

Leave a Reply