With a cast of British actors, this small budget mystery of the year is sure to be a hit – The Qutfit

A small tailor’s shop, five main characters and 90 minutes for a vintage British drama that combines crime, revenge, history, war and love. Not on a London West End stage, or at the Tony Awards, but in The Qutfit, a small budget American film that just made a splash at the Berlin Film Festival.

Directed by Graham Moore, who won an Oscar in 2015 for his screenplay for The Imitation Game, and starring Nolan and Spielberg’s “best friend” Mark Rylance, the veteran actor who starred in Bridge of Spies, Dunkirk and Top Gun, as well as Dylan O’Brien, who received attention for Lesser Wolf and Labyrinth of the Moving Dead, as well as the West End’s own Dylan O’Brien. O’Brien, and the evergreen playwright Simon Russell Beale of London’s West End stage productions join the cast.

With such a lavish cast, this is not a blockbuster that wins with special effects and marketing, but a small but beautiful gem that kills with content and quality.

Timely closure is half the battle

Once upon a time, due to the ruthlessness of the audience’s psychology and expectations, coupled with the ups and downs of the plot, which was reasonable and unexpected, reversal films were once the audience’s favourite. Suspense films even shed their strong logical trappings for a time, turning undergraduate reasoning into set-up reversals to attract audiences. But over time, just as there are no more than 36 basic story models, there comes a time when the reversal masters run out of steam.

In this case, the once-impressive design of the reversal becomes a “forced reversal”, and the carefully planted plot at the beginning of the film is easily detected by an increasingly savvy audience. The aura of the once glorious reversal is no longer there, so if you really want to do the opposite and make another reversal, you have to master the necessary trick – to stop in time.

Compared to most reversals, The Qutfit has a very clear self-positioning – a small-budget gem of a drama. So the film has the quality of a live video of a play. It is very much in keeping with the ‘trinity’ of theatre.

After laying out the background of the “sinful relationship” between the tailor’s shop and the Chicago mob, the film quickly draws the audience’s attention with murder and suspense, and successfully draws them into thinking.

If The Qutfit had continued with its condescending version of reversals to extend the length of the film to two hours, the masterpiece would have become a drawn-out running gag. That’s why pacing is almost the life of a reversal film. Another trick The Qutfit uses when designing its reversals is to leave itself open to “air” – no reversals are overdone.

In solving the mystery of Leonard the Cutter’s identity, the film does not use a 180-degree turnaround, but rather a more subtle hint that not only provides room for explanation for the final strong reversal of the plot, but also leads the audience step by step into the plot and even encourages them to speculate on the possibility of a “reversal”, making the film more The film is informative and a highly engaging experience.

The film’s timely closure in this situation allows the audience to close the emotional loop, allowing room for reflection and breathing, without dwelling on whether the reversal is stiff or illogical, and is as silky as a fine suit.

The surface is uneventful, but in fact it’s a big one

After the narrative tricks are out of the way, style and recognisability become the second life of the reversal. Although the main theme of current opinion is to break stereotypes, the truth is that for literary works, perhaps playing with stereotypes to the extreme becomes another kind of recognition.

And having recognition means having a point of memory, holding the audience’s attention, which means that it is more likely to be recognised and a step closer to being a masterpiece.

Just as most viewers think of the dark yellow tones and hot summer days of ‘The Misfits’ when they think of Indian suspense, or the forest-like buildings and streets, cyberpunk billboards, narrow streets and endless chases when they think of Hong Kong-style suspense, ‘The Qutfit’ also plays on the British gentleman and his airs and graces to the hilt.

When you think of an ‘English gentleman’, you have an image of a smart, four-piece suit walking along the banks of the Thames. And The Qutfit does just that with the four-piece suit. The suit is the ‘MacGuffin’ of the film.

Leonard is a tailor, and throughout the film there is a great deal of attention paid to the rules of making a suit. The suggestion that “one of the four suits is indispensable” appears several times throughout the film, also suggesting the meticulous character of the hero and the indispensability of timing and timing to achieve the end.

On a cultural level, Leonard leaves London to set up a bespoke suit shop in Chicago, a small community dominated by gangsters, where only the gang leader’s family can afford a bespoke suit. What appears to be an unusual plot design is actually an expression of traditional British cultural arrogance as well as American identity. The integration of the conservative, refined and sophisticated British culture into the still developing, liberal America creates a dramatic clash of cultures.

Just as the suit shop in Kingsman served as a “fortress for agents”, so the tailor’s shop in Suits is tidy in its own way. “Restraint” is another key word in the film. The Suit creates a sense of contrast between the apparently uneventful and the actually dramatic.

The film’s unique style and cultural design, which is truly “measured” and artisanal and collegiate, is successfully resolved by the distinctive British dark humour. The film’s unique British dark humour is a welcome relief from the fatigue that comes with high levels of concentration. The film’s surprise is also a welcome change from the traditional revenge narrative, which has to be confronted with its shortcomings.

The “downscaling” of the acting

Beyond the narrative and stylisation, the final layer of The Qutfit’s secret weapon that can be used to “bring down the house” on other reversals is the acting. The acting, honed on the London West End stage, can be used on the big screen to amplify the charm of micro-expression design.

At the very beginning of the gang conflict, the film is already paving the way for a “reversal”. The look in Leonard’s eyes when he first sees the receptionist receive her crystal ball, the look in Ritchie’s eyes when he first sees his gun, the way Leonard moves when the gangster makes his first appearance, and the inadvertent exchange of glances between the receptionist and Francis, are all very meaningful.

Mark Rylance’s performance is also very restrained in order to follow the pace of the narrative. It is only in the final moments that the audience realises that the seemingly borderline, silent and even almost transparent cutter is actually the eye that grows behind everything. And the lines judging the customer at the beginning of the film have more than just the implication of showing the tailor’s professional style.

Mark Rylance’s Leonard is, throughout the film, an example of what a “martial arts master” should be like. The words are well thought out, the words are quiet, the words are dormant, the words are invisible, and the words are three moves away from winning or losing.

With only five main characters, The Qutfit has the unique effect of being “all villains” and “all actors”. There are only two scenes outside in the entire film, one at the beginning of the film showing the outside of the tailor’s shop and the other at the end of the film when Leonard walks out of the burning fire.

Otherwise, the interior of the tailor’s shop is not at all depressing or boring, thanks to the well-placed pacing and the superb performances of the actors.

Even when following Leonard “out” of the tailor’s shop, the audience is still struck by the look on Leonard’s face.

Although the film is still not quite rigorous, it is a blessing that in a time of film drought and increasing impatience among creators, there are still directors who are willing to uphold the “artisanal spirit” and return to content-oriented, theatrical and vintage creations. At the same time, the film’s subtle plotting and low budget constraints make it a perfect blueprint for remakes. Expect this suspenseful dark horse of the year to burst into flames!