Saturday, April 15, 2023

Marlowe (2022)

Based on a more recent Philip Marlowe novel (The Black Eyed Blonde by John Banville which is referenced in the film as a movie poster) this film has Marlowe being hired by a rich woman to find her missing lover. He's supposedly dead, run over outside an exclusive club, but she doesn't think so. Soon Marlowe is hip deep into it with all sorts of nonsense involving rich people, the movies, and ambassador, the mob, drugs, prostitution and blackmail.

For get the plot, it ultimately makes little sense. Marlowe is being sent on a weird chase that is is always pointed away from the real reason for things and as a result nothing hangs together. Additionally the film wants to say things about the rich and the poor but it's so messy as to be not worth pondering.

On the other hand the film has a great cast (Liam Neeson, Jessica Lange, Alan Cumming, Colm Meaney, Diane Kruger and others), endlessly quotable dialog and cool visual sense. No it is not California, but who the hell cares? The film is a great deal of fun.

I had a blast seeing MARLOWE. Is it high art? Oh hell no, but it is a big budget dress up for everyone on screen. Sure they are aping the tropes of the hardboiled detective genre with plenty of anachronisms but the film is so much fun you won't care. This is just people having fun so we can have fun.

Neeson is okay as Marlowe. He's a bit too world weary, but he is still fine. I prefer him as Matthew Scudder from the books by Lawrence Block, but he is still a solid Marlowe, especially once he's allowed to be a man of action. I love it when he beats up guys sent to knock him off and after best thing them decides to clock one with a chair for the hell of it.

High art?


Pure popcorn delight. This is the sort of film you'll stop and watch every time it's one.

Highly recommended.

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