The Outfit (2022)


Don’t read until after seeing this.

Very likely, the effectiveness of this comes from a few key people with deep experience in the stage, plus possibly one person with a sensitive philosophy of blocking. So if you talked to them, you’d get a bunch of very interesting, even fascinating tradecraft. But for me, that is all plumbing and there is something else here at work that has deep roots in film.

The fundamental question for each movie is where is the viewer, how can we affect that placement and more forcefully, how do we exploit that for our purposes? Not every filmmaker actually answers these, but every single one takes a stance.

Once you start to look at the various solutions and the effects that are possible, it changes how you encounter film. Film affects these same decisions you make about how you place yourself in the world, so we get to some pretty personal areas. Film watching as your bespoke religion.

This film takes this same process — the precise equivalent — and gives it to the main character, who teases us because we are not him. But we are at first: a passive consumer of what happens around us. Small things happen that grow to bigger ones. As expected, we are distracted by that swell from small to big. We automatically place our hero in the traditional noir position, where the cosmos created by writer and viewer yanks the noir guy (always a guy) around.

And then he reverses the roles, and we find ourselves the hapless victim, while he gracefully exits. This is story-telling at the highest level and I invite you to it.

Posted in 2022

Ted’s Evaluation — 3 of 3: Worth watching.


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