Screenwriter Graham Moore's directorial debut is a finely crafted crime drama that benefits from Rylance's master-class performance in every scene. The Academy Award-winning actor is fabulously nuanced and understated as the thoughtful, deliberate suit cutter who deliberately ignores the parade of well-suited (and armed) men who use his shop as a drop-off spot and call him "English." The entire movie takes place at the shop, providing the one-set drama a sense of tightly wound theatricality. This is a tautly written (by Moore and co-writer Johnathan McClain), acted, and executed movie that, while not as funny or quirky as something like Knives Out, has moments of witty banter as brief release from the ever growing sense of dread.
Audiences might think they're a step ahead of the plot development and may grow frustrated at some of the characters' decisions. But it's unlikely you'll see every twist and turn, and that's a good thing. O'Brien is ideally cast as Boyle's overly chatty and entitled, if untalented, son, who's more bark than bite. Meanwhile, Flynn exudes a quiet and deadly calm. His facial scar, much like Tommy Flanagan's and the late Michael K. Williams', adds to his character's mysterious backstory. Deutch, still looking like a copy-and-paste version of her mother, Lea Thompson, is also noteworthy as the sole woman (for all but one scene) in the film. Like Rylance, she can brilliantly portray a multitude of emotions with the subtlest gestures or facial expressions. Dick Pope's cinematography makes the shop look alternately cavernous and claustrophobic, and Alexandre Desplat's score ratchets up the tension to nearly unbearable levels. Ultimately, this is a fine pick for mature moviegoers who enjoy crime dramas that make you think.