Strong acting is some of the purest form of cinema there is. Give me a film with good performances leading the way and I’m down for just about any story being told. When it can be something as intense and twisty, yet as fun as The Outfit is, well…all the better. This movie could easily have felt too drab and stagey, but everyone involved is just giving it their all to make sure that that’s never the case. The result is something that builds and builds until it has you almost on the edge of your seat. Consider this flick one of the more pleasant surprises of the first section of 2022.
The Outfit is a slow burn that builds into something fairly hypnotic. Watching a supposedly simple tailor attempt to outwit dangerous men in order to survive a fateful night is inherently compelling. Watching this cast do it? Well, that’s even more so the case. The more the plot progresses, the more compelled you are to see what these men and women are driven to do next.
Set in Chicago, we’re introduced to Leonard (Mark Rylance), a master English tailor. Leonard operates a small tailor shop with his assistant Mable (Zoey Deutch), where he makes incredibly beautiful and high end clothes for the only people around who can afford them. Who might they be? Well, a family of rather serious gangsters, of course. This ornate operation suits him just fine, as Leonard is quiet and never asks any questions. One night, however, that all changes.
When two mob killers in Richie (Dylan O’Brien) and Francis (Johnny Flynn) knock on his door in the middle of the night, they’re in need of a favor. One of them has been shot, and with Richie the son of someone very important, Leonard is about to be thrust into a deadly game of deception and murder. Luckily, he, as well as Mable, are up to the task and just might survive what’s shaping up to be a very deadly night.
From top to bottom, this is one strong cast. Mark Rylance makes it all look so easy, so you almost don’t appreciate what an ace performance this is. The same goes for Zoey Deutch, who has all of her charm and charisma on hand, but only uses it sparingly. This restrained performance is one of her best. The same goes for Dylan O’Brien, who gets to dig into a juicy role. Johnny Flynn goes bigger than the rest, but he’s still solid. Of course, Rylance is best in show, since he’s just such a master, though Deutch isn’t far behind. Rounding out the cast are the likes of Nikki Amuka-Bird and Simon Russell Beale.
Oscar winning screenwriter Graham Moore makes his directorial debut here, while also penning the script with Johnathan McClain. McClain and Moore parcel out information about the characters as needed, constantly keeping you curious about what’s next. Moore also showcases a strong director’s hand, especially with the performances. The Outfit is proof that he’s a fully-fledged filmmaker now. I can’t wait to see what he does next behind the camera. Whatever film he opts to do next, I’m in.
The Outfit is an acting showcase, through and through. The more you appreciate Rylance and company, the more you’ll be into what Moore is putting forward here. Plus, it’s the sort of movie for adults that so many audience members claim is never made anymore. Well, here it is, so check it out and enjoy!