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Marlowe – Review

Do you ever have that lingering feeling of de ja vu that you just cannot shake when you’re watching a movie? It is one of the worst feelings you can experience when watching a movie, because you know almost anything and everything that is going to happen, and it just comes down to performances solely. However when the titular character of this story has been played by the likes of Robert Mitchum, Elliot Gould, and Humphrey Bogart, do we really need to see someone else play the smooth talking brash detective trying to solve a mystery that doesn’t seem to want to be solved, not really.

The film focuses on Philip Marlowe played by Liam Neeson is tasked by Clare Cavendish played by Diane Kruger whose mother, Dorothy played by Jessica Lange are the typical femme fatales of this film noir. They are asking Marlowe to find out if a man run over in front of a bougie club was in fact actually run over or if it as an elaborate scheme to cover his disappearance. Marlowe down on his luck, needing the money after supposedly ruining his life after the war, reluctantly takes on the case and the mystery starts to unfold.

The issue with Marlowe is the fact that this is one of over a dozen iterations of this character, even if not based on an actual work surrounding Marlowe, the general concept is there. When this story has been done to quite literal death, it is hard to reinvigorate the wheel and make it something new and interesting for the audience to sink their teeth into. Moreover, having a movie set in the 1930s having modern language and profanities is so riddled with cringe and discomfort, that it doesn’t help the continual decline of this overdone concept.

When it comes down to performances, maybe twenty years ago Liam Neeson would be a believable hard boiled detective down on his luck, now I’m not sure what has happened but he cannot sell that character. His performance trying to engage in this case, and fight his way against people is unbelievable and just so mindboggling in his delivery. While on the same side of this unfortunate coin is Diane Kruger and Jessica Lange who both are phoning their performances in. No one in this cast seems to be caring about much that is going on throughout Marlowe, and it reflects unfortunately.

The problem with a movie like Marlowe is that anyone whose watching this movie, is familiar with Raymond Chandler’s character and has most definitely seen better iterations of this film and character. It’s the typical story of hardboiled washed-up detective, meeting a femme fatale or two in charge of finding someone who was supposedly murdered or missing, or something of the like. Films like The Big Sleep, The Long Goodbye, Farewell, My Lovely, and so forth all tell the story of Philip Marlowe in one way or another. They also all star actors who could arguably be defined as the crème of the crop.

Marlowe, manages to deliver a story that has been done time and time again, but lacks an original take on the film but lacks the performances it needs to transcend it into the same breath as the aforementioned classics, let alone something that can hold its own weight. Performances throughout the film that lack heart and creativity further weigh down this film noir that should be left in the past.

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Marlowe – Review


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About The Author

My earliest movie memory, outside of my home theatre in my basement, was going to the local Video 99 and wanting to rent ET only to be told by the shop owner it was playing down the street in theatres. My love for cinema has been alive for as long as I can honestly remember. I would frequent the cinema minutes down from my house daily. It was a second home. Movies are an escape from the everyday world, a window into the soul, a distant friend. If I’m not watching a movie, I’m probably watching a tv show, if I’m doing neither I’m asleep.

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