While some creative talents have taken the pandemic as an opportunity to decompress, for Academy Award-winner Mark Rylance, it has been a particularly busy time. After recently presenting the British comedy The Phantom of the Open at the London Film Festival and churning out two collaborations alongside Hollywood golden boy Timothée Chalamet (Don’t Look Up, Bones and All), the English stage legend stars in a new film: The Outfit.
Owner of a made-to-measure tailor shop in 1950s Chicago, Leonard Burling (Rylance) frowns upon being called a tailor. He is a cutter, he corrects: he learned his craft on Savile Row. Mobster Roy Boyle (Simon Russell Beale) was his first client upon relocating to the United States, and Leonard has been a silent outfitter for the crime family ever since. One night, Boyle’s righthand man drags the boss’s bleeding son (Maze Runner’s Dylan O’Brien) into the shop, urging Leonard to stitch up his gunshot wound. With his business invaded, the craftsman is no longer able to stay out of theirs.
Inspired by a story of the first bug the FBI ever planted in order to surveil a Chicago crime syndicate, screenwriter Graham Moore’s directing debut is a historical chamber piece full of twists. The film’s pace initially gives the impression that it seeks to explore acquiescence and complicity, but the script takes a hard left turn towards being a thriller when the gangster’s fear of a mole is introduced.
The Outfit’s cinematography is effective and neat, but ultimately unspectacular as it is somewhat limited by the single location.
In a production with no shortage of remarkable actors, Rylance’s precise performance of the prim Englishman – buttoned up in both senses of the phrase – is the driving force of the film. Leonard’s keen perception is tailored to perfection.
The Outfit is released nationwide on 8th April 2022.
Watch the trailer for The Outfit here: