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review by Bobby Blakey

Ever since Liam Neeson reinvented himself with the Taken franchise he has been tearing up the big screen with all sorts of action thrillers. His last few films have kept the action here, but not quite as intense as they once had been and his latest is doing something even different. Now Neeson has teamed up with Interview With The Vampire and Greta director Neil Jordan to bring the famed detective Philip Marlowe to the big screen. The film co-stars Diane Kruger, Jessica Lange, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Colm Meaney, Alan Cumming, and Danny Huston, but does it bring a mystery worth solving or should you stay off the case?

Marlow follows street-wise, down on his luck detective; Philip Marlowe who is hired to find the ex-lover of a glamorous heiress, daughter of a well-known movie star in late 1930’s Los Angeles. The disappearance unearths a web of lies, and soon Marlowe is involved in a dangerous, deadly investigation where everyone involved has something to hide.

For such a high profile actor and an iconic character that has had numerous TV and film projects in the past it amazes me that this film is kind of coming in under the radar. I love a good noir crime flick and you add the always awesome Neeson to the mix and I am all in. For this film to work though it can’t just rely on Neeson, but has to have a case that is compelling with plenty of twists and turns. I really dug this film, but it isn’t without its issues.

Neeson is perfectly cast in the role with his grizzled voice, imposing stature and ability to carry the drama and action. Have no fear they fully stick to the format of the 30s detective narrative that gives it a throwback feeling that is perfect and necessary for this film to really deliver. Everything here screams 

the right tone to pull you right into the old style complete with the costuming, cars, city, attitudes, dialogue and fun looks into old Hollywood as the backdrop of it all.

Where the film missed the mark for me is the overall resolution. There are the expected twists, but nothing really overly surprising or hard to really figure out. That is part of what I love about this genre and here it just seemed to play it more safe and straight forward. I know it was played up from the novel it is based on, The Black-Eyed Blonde, but I had just hoped for more.

Where it falters some here, I still enjoyed the journey getting there and seeing this great cast come together to bring the classic character to new life. I am not sure if there are plans to do any others, but I would love to see Neeson take on more Philip Marlowe cases in the future, but only time will tell if it ever happens.

This film is not only the latest to bring the famed detective to the screen, but also marks Liam Neeson’s 100th film. Get on the case and grab your copy of Marlowe available now on digital, Blu-ray and DVD from Universal Home Entertainment.

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