OPINION: ‘Marlowe’ falls flat in spite of serviceable cast and director


Photo Courtesy of Open Road Films

The tactful hand of Neil Jordan and the seasoned presence of Liam Neeson, Diane Kruger and Jessica Lange aren’t enough to save the middling “Marlowe.”

The film follows the titular character, a private eye played by Liam Neeson, who has been hired by Claire Cavendish, played by Diane Kruger, to find her ex-lover who is presumed to be dead.

The film proclaims itself as film noir but it is, stylistically, too bright to fully capture the ambience that noir is supposed to invoke. The style leans far more into the aesthetics of old money and Southern California that serve as the backdrop for the story.

The film’s biggest problem: it is incredibly boring. I adore slow-paced films to the point that I watched a film where a light goes over a lemon and fades away silently for seven minutes and I was delighted the entire time.

But there are no lemons to latch onto in this one. The plot is vomited out at you and the script is really stiff.

It was boring to the point where it, at first, seemed confusing because my brain felt so understimulated that it didn’t immediately understand what was going on.

I generally find Liam Neeson wonderfully charming but there were far too many moments where he and the rest of the cast were inhibited by the writing.

Towards the climax of the film, a detective is running over the plan to infiltrate a high-end country club with Marlowe. Marlowe’s only lines in this 2 minute long exchange are him saying “Fair enough” about five or six times.

As a side note to directors everywhere, I feel bad watching Liam Neeson limp around during action sequences. Years of being an action star have taken their toll. Please let him rest.

“Marlowe” is certainly not the magnum opus of any of its star-studded and oddly combined cast or of Jordan.