Unprovoked, the famous Northern Irish filmmaker, veteran Neil Jordan (The Crying Game, Mona Lisa) decided to revive the fictional private detective Philip Marlowe, who was created in the detective novels of the 1930s by the famous American crime writer Raymond Chandler. Again after the movie “Michael Collins” Jordan joined forces with his compatriot Liam Neeson who after Dick Powell, Humphrey Bogart, James Garner, Robert Mitchum, Elliot Gould and many others stepped into the shoes of the famous detective. But what is most bizarre of all, Jordan did not make his “Marlowe” based on one of Chandler’s novels, but on the crime novel “Black-Eyed Blonde” by the Irish writer John Banville, who apparently took over the main protagonist from his late colleague.
The main thought that arose with this neo-noir crime film, which takes place in Los Angeles in 1939, was unnecessary. Jordan’s “Marlowe” seemed to me like an episode of a television crime series that airs on Saturday or Sunday mornings, so although it is obvious that the model was Roman Polanski’s “Chinatown”, it cannot be placed in this sentence. Much better than this “Marlowe” is the “Perry Mason” series, which also takes place in Los Angeles in almost the same period and in which the legendary fictional investigator was also revived, but in a much better and more thoughtful way.
There is an attempt to follow classic noir in style, but it all seems so strange, forced, full of clichés. In addition, it was filmed somewhat dryly, I lacked the finesse, charm, style and elegance of, say, “Chinatown” or the Welles classic “Touch of Evil”. And the story itself is quite silly, because this time the apparently old Marlowe, who is thinking about how he smoked his pension in the police force, will be hired by the glamorous heiress of the oil baron, Clare Cavendish (Diane Kruger), to find her missing lover. Although at first it seems that the swindler has been killed because the body of a man whose head was crushed by a car has been delivered to the police, Marlowe will immediately conclude that it is not him. Of course, it will turn out that nothing is as it seems at first, and although there are a lot of familiar faces, primarily Jessica Lange, who returned to the film for the role of Clare’s mother after a full six years, it was performed quite poorly.