The Outfit

A stylish noir locked room drama. Taking place entirely inside a tailor shop in 1950s Chicago, it follows Leonard, played by the excellent Mark Rylance, as he tries to survive the night.

The Boyle Crew are at war with the La Fontaines, and are paranoid about a rat in their midst. Leonard and his receptionist and pseudo daughter, Mable, live a relatively quiet life plying their trade, despite more than a few of their customers being the city’s gangsters. But that boundary is crossed one night when the son of the head of the Boyle crime family bursts through the door with a gun shot wound. Aided by his lieutenant Francis, played to perfection by Johnny Flynn, the bleeding Richie demands to be sheltered and helped by Leonard. Added to the ticking clock of Richie’s wounds, is the valuable cassette in Francis’s suitcase, which will supposedly reveal the identity of the rat.

The twists and turns of the night keeps Leonard on his toes. While the mobsters are tooled to the teeth, he must survive using nothing but his wits.

I liked watching this, I liked its look and the tension in the scenes. I liked Rylance and Flynn’s performances as well as that of Simon Russell Beale as the Boyle mob boss. It’s a really enjoyable watch and it keeps you going through the 2 hours easy.

But. It actually doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. The twists go back and forth long after it stops making sense. Like, if you were actually to sit down and say what happens, it just sounds like a series of highly unlikely coincidences and illogical decisions. Now that’s fine, coz it’s fun. But it takes a lot of cloth wholesale from Rope and Bound and others of that ilk. And unlike those films, where the villain essentially undoes themselves through their own character flaws, their arrogance, their pride, The Outfit’s villains don’t really have characters, they’re just tropes of the gangster genre. They’re undone by being outsmarted by Leonard, rather than their own faults, which I think gives Leonard too much power and downplays the peril.

All in all, a really enjoyable and slick watch. Just don’t think about it too much.