A bit of a weird one, Chandler’s classic noir detective Philip Marlowe hits the screen again but this time in the form of a septuagenarian who looks a bit wooden when it comes to Marlowe’s trademark fisticuffs and roughhousing. You’ll have to make your own mind up about whether Liam Neeson works for you as the titular private eye.
That said, this is a solid production directed by Neil Jordan of The Crying Game fame and written by William Monahan (The Departed), based on the novel The Black-Eyed Blonde by John Banville (so an imposter riffing on Chandler’s creation!).
Set in the elegant era of the late 1930s, this neo-noir crime thriller brings Old Hollywood to life as the film follows a private detective Marlowe (Neeson) who is hired to find the ex-lover of a glamourous heiress (Diane Kruger). It looks like an open and shut case but Marlowe soon finds himself in the underbelly of Hollywood’s film industry and unwittingly drawn into the crossfire of a legendary Hollywood actress (Jessica Lange) and her subversive, ambitious daughter.
Alan Cumming adds spice to proceedings as a businessman/philanthropist – i.e., baddie, who, as Marlowe seeks Kruger’s missing ex-lover, has his sights set on a missing consignment of cocaine.
This is a good-looking neo-noir with a quality cast and an evocative soundtrack. Definitely one for a night on the couch rather than the multiplex.
Available from Friday 17 March on Sky Cinema Now.
Image: © Sky UK.
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