There’s a reason why film adaptations of Arthur Conan Doyle’s novels continue to be made: No matter how many years go by, people never get tired of a classic old-fashioned mystery. Although this type of story takes many forms, its classic formula full of revelations, mistrust and funny expository monologues is well known to all and never fails to captivate, a great recent example being the brilliant “Knives Out”. It’s no surprise then that Sherlock Holmes fan Graham Moore brings us “The Tailor of the Mafia”an exquisite story that will satisfy every lover of detective stories.
Leonard (Mark Rylance) and his young assistant, Mable (Zoey Deutch), run a tailor shop in Chicago, where their main customers are members of the mob. One night, two thugs (Dylan O’Brien and Johnny Flynn) knock on the door of the store and ask Leonard for a favor that puts him in a dangerous situation and puts everything he has worked for, including his own, at risk. life of him
Graham Moore, who won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for “The Riddler Code,” now takes the director’s chair, and he does it with great confidence and style. Despite taking place in a single location, the mystery and rhythm of the film help to maintain the viewer’s interest, while the ingenious editing and photography prevent the work from falling into the theatricality that some productions of this type tend to have.
Added to his direction is the clever script written by himself and Johnathan McClain. Its many twists, interesting characters and clever dialogue make “The Tailor of the Mafia” a piece that is as funny as it is intriguing: despite one having a constant sense of danger, the text makes sure to lighten the mood with several oddly humorous interventions. Moore once again demonstrates his ability to surprise us with unexpected twists and tricks worthy of the best detective novels.
His group of murderers and thugs straight out of an Agatha Christie book are played by a cast ready for the task. It’s led by Mark Rylance (“Don’t Look Up”), whose passive, sly air comes in quite handy for a protagonist as mysterious as he is sweet. Only Rylance is capable of telling the same joke twice and still making the viewer laugh, without letting that action distract us from the main danger for a moment. His performance, very similar to the one that won him an Oscar in “Bridge of Spies”, is a great exercise in subtlety that little by little reveals the multiple layers of a curious but captivating character.
He is accompanied by the wonderful Zoey Deutch (“Fake Influencer”), Leonard’s quiet but observant assistant, with whom he has a similar father-daughter dynamic. Her interactions are the most tender of the film, and her role is essential to reveal the true emotions of the reserved man. Dylan O’Brien (“Love and Monsters”) and Johnny Flynn (“The Weapon of Deceit”) bring an energy and unpredictability necessary to jump-start the plot, while Nikki Amuka-Bird (“Persuasion”) and Simon Russell Beale endow the work of a danger vibe in their short appearances.
“The Tailor of the Mafia” makes great use of its resources to bring to life an entertaining story full of intrigue. Fans of classic thrillers will find it a good, easy-going source of fun and suspense (though veterans of the genre will probably guess some of its twists). It may not be as fine a product as the costumes designed by its leading lady, but it’s definitely one worth checking out.
“The Tailor of the Mafia” is now available in theaters. Cover image courtesy of Cine Caníbal.