Oscar-winner Mark Rylance stars in a film that squeezes film noir tics with aim
‘The mafia tailor’ begins elegantly, with a succession of shots that describe the main character’s workshop in detail while an off-screen voice -a common resource throughout the film- describes some details of his profession, the master’s tricks , under whose gaze the clothes we wear become information and say a lot about who wears them, how each person is, shy, bold or carefree. The English actor and playwright Mark Rylance plays the king of the show, on his shoulders falls the weight of the action, at times theatrical. He once again demonstrates his worth and integrity in front of the camera, as in the recent ‘Don’t look up’ or ‘Bridge of Spies’, for which he won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.
Newcomer Graham Moore, cultivated in the field of television, directs a story set in Chicago in the mid-1950s. The skilled seamstress ends up in this American city, leaving behind the city of London, where he made suits to media on Mayfair’s popular Savile Row. A personal tragedy leads him to cross the great ocean to start over in a small tailor shop whose clientele is mostly people from the underworld. The local gangsters are the only ones who can afford the couturier’s designs, who does not hesitate to mumble that “they are elegant men, but they are not gentlemen.”
Presented at the Berlin festival, ‘The Mafia Tailor’ narrates how the protagonist, exceptional Rylance, expressive and restrained when he plays, showing acute British phlegm, gets entangled in the skein of the mafia’s shenanigans, irremediably, like a insect in a spider web. The store, suitably photographed, with a style as vintage as it is current, is the scene of a crescendo drama that is unleashed when the protagonist is forced to sew a bleeding wound instead of a cloth in the back of his well-cared workshop. .
The tailor’s shop becomes the meeting place for criminals, who take advantage of the gentle character of the seamstress. Meticulous in his trade, generous and accommodating, his relationship with his assistant, Zoey Deutch, seen in ‘How to Escape Buffalo’, is one of the strengths of a plot that squeezes some film tics with aim black. Noteworthy is the music by Alexandre Desplat, collaborator on the soundtrack of films such as ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ or ‘The Shape of Water’. The composer’s work extols some intelligently shot sequences, although the climax is not up to the first acts. A recommendable gangster movie, with a skillful cast crowned by young talents Dylan O’Brien (‘Love and Monsters’) and Johnny Flynn (‘Emma’).
Johnny Flynn and Mark Rylance in ‘The Mob Tailor’.