Sewing has nothing to do with art, it’s a craft, says tailor Leonard Burling. What it takes is precision, a steady hand, and a plan to be followed carefully. The men’s two-piece suit is made of 38 pieces of fabric and made in 228 steps, Burling demonstrates from the start, with cool jazz.
Tea brewed before ripping the cardboard from the roll with rattling noises, drawing the pattern and cutting it does not count. The golden rule is: “You can’t sew anything until you know what it’s going to be used for.”
The thriller The Outfit by director Graham Moore is set in 1956 Chicago, where the hero, played by British-American actor Mark Rylance, builds a custom fashion company. He came from England and learned his trade on the famous Savile Row in London. But after the war came the economic crisis and then the blue jeans that spoiled sales. Half-jokingly, Berling blames James Dean for the latter.
Don’t show any feelings
He prefers not to talk about another sad reason to go to the United States. As he is anyway, very British, he avoids showing emotion. For example towards his employee Mable (Zoey Deutch), with whom he feels a patriarchal bond. The detailed tailor says, “The things I make are timeless.” It is important for him not to be a “tailor”, but a “cutter”. So a suit maker and no one sews a thing together in no time.
The title of the movie has a double bottom. “Outfit” is the name given to the clothes, but it is also the name of a mafia organization founded in Chicago before the Al Capone era. At the back of the store, where Burling makes his wares, is a mailbox that members of the Irish Mafia branch use to leave messages. Now the threatening messages from the outfit clan end there. There must be a traitorous “rat” working for the FBI. It should be possible to find out who is on a tape thrown by a parcel.
Grass wars, fear and betrayal. Similar stories from the world of organized crime have been told many times before. “The Outfit” is great because the plot is so caught up that it couldn’t be more straightforward. The film is shown exclusively in the three rooms of the tailor’s shop – the reception, the workshop and the back room – sometimes you can see the building from the outside in the reverse shot.
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Director Graham Moore wrote the script for the war drama The Imitation Game, and The Outfit is his first film. Some scenes are reminiscent of a play, for example when a snowball is sent to a Mable featuring London landmarks and then shelved along with other snowballs from around the world. She dreams of leaving and traveling, while Borling considers her the successor to his business.
Or when Richie Boyle (Dylan O’Brien), the son of a mafia boss and his partner Francis (Johnny Flynn) always call Burling “English” and send him out of the room so he can talk peacefully. The tailor responds submissively with “Gentlemen, will you excuse me!?” But he secretly believes that they are just customers, not masters. Even the fact that their jackets are puffed up because they carry pistols underneath doesn’t seem very aesthetically pleasing.
[In Berlin im Cinemaxx Potsdamer Platz; OmU: Delphi Lux, Hackesche Höfe, Intimes und Rollberg]
Mark Rylance, Academy Award winner for his role as a Soviet spy in Steven Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies, has mastered the art of revealing only the basics of what’s on his character’s mind. The survival of The Outfit champion is just as vital to the survival of The Outfit champion as it was to Thomas Cromwell, played by Rylance in the Wolves series, a recognized statesman under Henry VIII Mafia as heir.
The Boyle family may fear Outfit’s men, but first they have to deal with LaFontaines, African-Americans, French-speaking gangsters. After a skirmish, Richie appears at the store with a gunshot wound. At gunpoint, Francis Burling was forced to sew up bullet wounds. The tailor’s table becomes surgical furniture, and the suit maker restores the injured man. He later proves that he also knows how to use his scissors.