Saturday 13 April 2024

Movie Review: Marlowe (2022)

Genre: Crime Drama Neo-Noir  
Director: Neil Jordan  
Starring: Liam Neeson, Diane Kruger, Jessica Lange, Alan Cumming, Danny Huston  
Running Time: 109 minutes  

Synopsis: In Los Angeles of 1939, private detective Philip Marlowe (Liam Neeson) is hired by the married and wealthy Clare Cavendish (Diana Kruger) to find her missing lover Nico Petersen. Marlowe's investigation leads him to Floyd Hanson (Danny Huston), manager of the exclusive Corbata Club; Clare's retired movie star mother Dorothy Quincannon (Jessica Lange); studio boss O'Reilly; mobster Lou Hendricks (Alan Cumming); and Nico's sister Lynn (Daniela Melchior). As the dead bodies start to accumulate, Marlowe is drawn into a conspiracy involving the cross-border drug trade.

What Works Well: Although the shine is artificial, the pre-war Los Angeles era is recreated with affection. The plot is suitably complicated and features the required mix of crime, cover-up, jealousy, lust, triple-crosses, and quests for elusive objects and power, all swirling around elites and wannabes who should know better.

What Does Not Work As Well: Despite borrowing Raymond Chandler's legendary creation, the milieu and people never progress beyond a sense of dress-up: neither the locations nor outfits look lived-in. The dialogue is contrived, over-extending the writing talent and leaving the characters devoid of genuineness and struggling against an empathy void. Plot twists and coincidences are more bizarre than impressive, with an apparently key influencer largely invisible and plenty of loose ends abandoned in a blizzard of unconvincing explanations.

Conclusion: The stuff that disappointments are made of.

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