Review: Liam Neeson Takes Viewers Back in Time in the Neo Noir Film MARLOWE

“MARLOWE” is a 2023 film noir directed by Neil Jordan and starring Liam Neeson, Diane Kruger, Danny Houston, and Jessica Lange. The film is a modern take on the classic detective story, following private investigator Philip Marlowe as he delves into a case involving a missing man and a strange mother-daughter relationship.

MARLOWE film poster
Briarcliff Entertainment

MARLOWE” follows a grizzled private investigator, hired by a wealthy married woman (Diane Kruger) to find her missing lover. Marlowe takes the case despite some misgivings as he knows isn’t being honest with her intentions of finding him. Pulled into a strange world of wealthy Los Angelenos, Marlowe deals with a jealous mother (Jessica Lange), a cocaine-addicted mobster (Danny Houston), and a rival mobster looking for a mysterious woman ( Alan Cummings.)

“The film’s” cinematography is its strongest aspect, with a dark and moody atmosphere that perfectly captures the noir genre’s essence. The camera work and lighting in MARLOWE are masterfully done, creating a vintage Los Angeles that feels both gritty and atmospheric.

The film’s plot is rather lackluster, however, with a convoluted storyline that fails to engage the audience. The pacing is slow, and the lack of character development leaves the audience feeling disconnected from the characters. We only get hints of Marlowe’s past which includes getting kicked off the police squad with no pension but his relationships with current police detectives remain intact if not fragile. We don’t necessarily know why the police continue to work with Marlowe, who never follows advice or proper police procedure.

MARLOWE film Liam Neesom
SourceL Courtney Harris Briarcliff Entertainment

Additionally, some of the action scenes are comical and fail to fit with the film’s overall tone, detracting from the serious and gritty atmosphere that the cinematography creates. The scene of Marlowe in his home trying to extract an answer from an intruder is so silly and unrealistic.

Despite its flaws, “Marlowe” is worth watching for fans of the noir genre, thanks to its exceptional cinematography and Liam Neeson’s solid performance. However, those looking for a compelling plot and action scenes may be left wanting more.

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