Director: Graham Moore
Writers: Johnathan McClain, Graham Moore
Stars: Mark Rylance, Zoey Deutch, Dylan O’Brien
It’s hard to imagine anyone more suited than Mark Rylance for the lead role in Graham Moore’s “The Outfit 2022”: the story of a Savile Row tailor who works more or less exclusively for an Irish mobster in 1956 Chicago. Rylance’s character, Leonard Burling, knows the rules: you keep your head down and your mouth shut, and in return, the Boyle clan treats you almost like family. And if he doesn’t, well, we’ve all seen enough gangster footage to know the consequences.
Leonard hardly ever leaves his studio, and neither do we, in “The Outfit,” a contained noir, almost like a play, like the one John Huston and Nicholas Ray were making in the early ’50s.
From these familiar elements, Moore has created a clever little thriller and a decent canvas on which to hone his directorial skills. What’s most original about “The Outfit” is Moore’s decision to focus on a former Savile Row “cutter.” That word is more expansive than “tailor,” we learn, describing someone who creates entire wardrobes, rather than specializing in a single garment. “Cutter” also sounds more dangerous, and while Leonard seems incredibly placid at first, one look at his trusty pair of scissors will have most audiences guessing who and how they will be used to stab later in the film.
Leonard most likely has other clients besides Roy Boyle (Simon Russell Beale) and his gang, although we don’t see many apart from a first fitting montage in which we learn how a tailored suit suits different personality types. . “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” graduate Sophie O’Neill and fashion designer Zac Posen provide the duds, which aren’t flashy or flashy like Brian De Palma’s Armani-clad “Untouchables” ensembles were, but They reflect care. of craftsmanship, even in fragments, as Moore shows Rylance assembling them from scratch.
Leonard’s store also doubles as a drop off point for Boyle’s deals. Men with broad shoulders, square jaws, and big coats parade, leaving thick envelopes in a box on the wall, rarely staying long enough to doff their hats. Leonard acts as if everything is perfectly normal, a silent keeper of secrets who seems interested in little more than his craft. “This is not art. It’s a trade,” he tells us in voiceover. Leonard’s narration can be deliberately misleading at times, cunningly hiding aspects of his personality even as he reveals others (he is, after all, a man of few words). He is not Keyser Söze, although the public could be forgiven for assuming something similar.
Not long after Richie (Dylan O’Brien), Roy’s goofy son, and Francis (Johnny Flynn), the chief of arms, stumble into the store, the former shot in the stomach and the latter waving his piece as if he intended to use it, Leonard makes a calculated decision. risk. He first stitches Richie up, in a wincing-sounding scene, and then tells the not-too-bright Boyle scion, “I’m the rat.” I’ve been selling information to your enemies and let the feds plant their bug. Are you bragging? Or maybe joking? Leonard seems like an honorable man, but he has that dry British quality that can be hard to read.
Moore takes advantage of the ambiguity for all it’s worth, as Rylance’s rank is such that he really couldn’t be more than a butler type with low blood pressure, and yet we can also imagine him spraying the room with a Tommy gun, if the situation required it
Moore has said that the idea for “The Outfit” came from reading a report that the first recorded evidence collected by the feds in a major organized crime case was taken from hidden microphones planted in a Chicago tailor shop. This isn’t a recreation of that episode, though the detail fired Moore’s imagination (he co-wrote this script with Johnathan McClain) and sent the pair down a winding path of manipulation and mind games. It also provided them with the double entendre of the film’s title: here, a clothing manufacturer finds himself caught in the middle of a massive power struggle, as Boyle’s former allies grow suspicious of each other and a gang war breaks out outside. the screen. ordered by a shadowy underworld organization known as “the Team”.