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  • Gareth Crook

The Outfit (2022) - 8/10

Gangster films can be very hit or miss. The great ones become classics, the rest feel like cash ins. That probably sets the bar too high for The Outfit… or does it. We meet Leonard (Mark Rylance), an English tailor in cold 1950s Chicago. He’s particular, precise, a details man who reads others, notices things, he’s respectable… or is he. He allows his shop as a drop off front for the local mob. An unassuming figure, he looks out for his assistant Mable (Zoey Deutch), who’s fallen in with Richie (Dylan O’Brien), one of the mobsters with a chip on his shoulder who comes to collect. It’s a nice set up. We learn of ‘The Outfit’ who drop envelopes that Richie and his mate Francis (Johnny Flynn) collect and we learn that Mable in envious of Leonard’s well travelled past, all while never leaving the shop. Leonard is calm in a crisis and with mobsters comes crisis. There’s a turf war going on and The Feds are sniffing around. Leonard finds himself sewn into a story he wants no part of… or does he. This is The Outfits strength, it burns slow, but picks up pace with carefully crafted dialogue just when needed. The narrative is drip fed and twists with bluffs and intercut timelines that draw the viewer in deftly. Watching, I’m guessing this has been adapted from a play. It’s got all the hallmarks. Small cast, one location and lots of talking. Flynn is great, Deutch too, in fact the entire cast does a sterling job, but none more than Rylance, he elevates this to something much more than a gangster film and delivers a performance packed with style.



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