Mark Rylance has been acting on the stage, TV and movie screen since the early 1980s, but he gained more prominence following his Oscar-winning role as Rudolf Abel in Steven Spielberg’s historical drama Bridge of Spies. Rylance was able to pull an unforgettable performance out of what would normally be dismissed as “dadporn.”
And since then, he’s had a great movie career and become a favorite actor of Spielberg. For his role as lawyer Bill Kunstler in The Trial of the Chicago 7, he was able to pull above the prepared cadance of Aaron Sorkin’s dialogue. There was a big step as an eccentric high-tech billionaire in Don’t Look Up that I skipped through just about every scene he was in. He was wrongly cast even though he looked like he was having a good time with the role.
His latest movie The Outfit is one of those movies that you have come to expect from those that stream online. Set in 1956, all of the events occur in a claustrophic vibe in a clothing shop in a Chicago neighborhood owned by the Irish mob where Rylance plays an English cutter, Leonard Burling. His shop is used by mob boss Roy Boyle (Simon Russell Beale) whose son and second-in-command, Richie (Dylan O’Brien) use the shop as a stash house. Richie’s girlfriend, Mable (Zoey Deutch), is also a receptionist for Burling and wants to leave Chicago.
One night, Richie shows up at the shop with a gunshot wound in his lower abdomen. Along with Richie is one of the mob’s enforcers, Francis (Johnny Flynn). They’ve just come from a violent interaction with the LaFontaine Family, a black criminal organization. Francis forces Burling to fix Richie and hide a briefcase with a tape from the FBI with detailed information in regards to the Outfit, i.e. the Chicago organized crime syndicate created by Al Capone.
If you’ve seen movies like Bound and Reservoir Dogs, you know where this movie is headed. With a cast that never exceeds double digits, director Graham Moore who co-wrote it with Jonathan McClain, knows how to create tension with just word usage and just how the characters move. Even something small as a dress coat on a hanger comes back later in the movie. Moore and McClain give good attention to detail of the small shop.
It’s hard to review much of the movie without giving away some of the plot points and twists. There are double-crosses and people aren’t exactly what they seem. Even Burling himself isn’t all that he seems. A scene between Rylance and Beale is most likely to end up in many drama classes with how it’s written and how both actors handle it.
Moore and his director of photography, Dick Pope, build a nice atmosphere for a movie that invokes the old-fashioned style of mobster movies from decades ago. Lighting and especially how it reflects or doesn’t on the clothes and set give the movie a Godfather-esque feel without looking like it’s trying to feel like The Godfather.
Currently streaming on Peacock, this along with Copshop, are building the streaming service with more respect than the jokes people made about it just two years ago.
What do you think? Please comment.