This film comes in a strange way: it is cleverly made and surprisingly, far from the present but not too sweet to occupy the minds of people whose spirits are working to overcome their fears. It starts with an image like a snowball. But inside, a mafia thriller unfolds.
One-story garage, shop front, 1950s design, this is Chicago. The chips flake through the darkness when Leonard enters the house at the start of “The Outfit”. He starts his day at work and tells us what he’s doing: a gray suit, in 238 steps, from the paper pattern to the tiniest layers of handcrafted seams. The light started, his assistant was making tea, and then the men came and walked by them as if they owned the sewing workshop and threw the envelopes into a box. In Leonard, the energetic men’s tailor, the mafia comes and goes. Al Capone is dead, but his organization, called The Outfit, still rules Chicago. It can’t go well.
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The Outfit is screenwriter Graham Moore’s (“The Imitation Game”) directorial debut, true-to-life genre cinema, and a brilliantly artistic poem, superbly represented with as much attention to detail as Leonard puts in his custom suits. Mark Rylance plays this guy, a Briton who gradually reveals to Mabel (Zoe Deutch) how he ended up in Chicago from Savile Row in London. “The Outfit” is a room play in which Leonard leaves his shop only in his nightmares, fueled by painful memories from his old life.
The newly formed FBI rolled out new artillery and eavesdropped on the gangsters
The gentlemen who walk into Leonard’s mailbox are middle class mobsters, not the type to dress up here, except for one – the boss’s son who’s dating Mabel. Leonard is skeptical about this, he wishes to protect her – the two are a strange couple in her workshop, the older man who has arrived there and the desperate young woman to get out of here, from the store and from Chicago.
Gangsters don’t take Leonard seriously, and they don’t even seem to mind that he’s actually armed – his tailor’s scissors are quite a beast. Something in the mailbox bothers her, Leonard does not interfere, and continues to sew – but at night Mabel’s friend returns, injured and with an escort. Soon there were more people at the door, and the clothes box contained a corpse. The story spans over two days, and the two are suddenly embroiled in a fatal confrontation between several departments of the local mafia and the FBI founded by J. Edgar Hoover. Hoover took out the new artillery, and eavesdropped on the gangsters – the clumsy cassette recorder that eventually appears in the movie is a treat in itself, because one wonders with what effort these giant insects were actually hidden.
Craftsmanship is the focus here, on several levels. In Leonard’s work, in his editing plans and somehow also in the entire film, the beautifully decorated rooms, the complex story. Moore has come up with a surprising number of tricks that are surprising, unpredictable, but they don’t come out of nowhere – never underestimate someone who can design a suit. Leonard is very good at thinking about the future. You have to design a suit so that it fits everything, even the smallest mistakes can only be corrected with difficulty. Almost as in real life.
uniformsUSA 2022 – Director: Graham Moore. Screenplay: J. Moore and Jonathan McClain. Camera: Dick Bob. Casting: Mark Rylance, Zoe Deutch, Johnny Flynn, Dillon O’Brien, Nikki Amuka Bird, Simon Russell Bell. Global, 106 min. Theatrical release: June 2, 2022.