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Wednesday, May 4, 2022

The Outfit 2022 * * * Stars


Chicago and the Mob, it's like peas and carrots and bat and ball. That's the Windy City way (natch). The Outfit (my latest review) has two meanings obviously. One of "Outfit's" characters is a tailor (get it?) and its title derives from the Chicago Mafia (otherwise known as the Chicago Outfit). "You know exactly what it is that we do". Ah, so much for that good old Mob oath.

Coming off as a one location stage play masked as organized crime-d drama, The Outfit is 1950s "golden age" interspersed with some gentlemanly gunplay, some wound stitching, and a Mexican standoff or two. Yup, the clothing shop featured in The Outfit has a lot more going on in it than just focused cutting.

Brit Mark Rylance stars in "Outfit" as habituated lead Leonard Burling. Just like in his Oscar-winning turn via Bridge of Spies, Rylance's Leonard is the smartest guy in the room and the one thinking three steps ahead. As subtle as Mark comfortably is, this is nearly a master class in acting for him. His Leonard Burling appears as a non-threatening, sort of more harmless version of Keyser Soze. "And like that, he's gone". Indeed.

The Outfit is directed by rookie Graham Moore. He's a Chi-town native so you better recognize. Moore's film is darkly lit, it stays put (just one sound stage where almost no daylight seeps in), and the actors hit their marks as if they're performing at a packed playhouse in Upstate New York.

Harboring a decent sense of time and place despite limited locales, "Outfit" doesn't apologize for being a talky flick because it's otherwise enhanced with snarky dialogue and the occasional mild violence. Add a musical score straight out of a Brian De Palma pic and a few twists and you got an old-fashioned, old-world cinematic experience. "Outfitted".

Written by Jesse Burleson

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