Marlowe: A 40s Classic


Courtesy of Marlowe's Official Trailer

Marlowe is a one-hour and 50-minute crime thriller with an R rating. You can watch it in theaters now.

Marlowe, directed by Neil Jordan, is an adaption of a 1940s thriller detective book series called Phillip Marlowe, originally written by Raymond Chandler. 

Although this film may have been for people like my grandfather– we watched the movie together– I would not recommend it to anyone who is used to the pace of modern movies. 

Marlowe was slow and never got to the point. It tells the story of a private investigator named Marlowe, who is tasked with finding the supposedly deceased lover of  Clare Cavendish, who is a very wealthy cunning businesswoman. The plot was basic and could have fit into a 30-minute short film but it was rather a grueling one hour and 50 minutes of nothing but a plain and expected detective story.

About 30 minutes into the movie, I could predict exactly how it would end and what the next plot twist would be. The movie’s humor was plain and basic, and I found it was only directed at the 80 years and older audience, which may have been the intent.

The movie did have some redeeming qualities. The cinematics, led by the cinematographer Xavi Giménez, were stunning and fully encapsulated the time, especially with Giménez’s depiction of a luxurious Bay Area club from the 40s. This made me feel like I was back in the 1940s. The acting by Liam Neeson (Marlowe) was superb and played true to Phillip Marlowe’s character of an honest private investigator who is tough on the outside but portrays real emotions on the inside. However, I did not find that the other characters were played well. For example, Clare Cavendish, played by Diane Kruger, seemed to be a basic and boring character, which may have been the fault of the directors. 

I would not recommend Marlowe to anyone under the age of 80 as I believe it is a failed attempt to revive movies from this era. I would wager that the original Marlowe movies made back in the 1940s were much better and more interesting than the current adaptation. My grandfather Bill Parks, who grew up watching the original movies, offers his opinion of the comparison, 

“The new Marlowe adaption gave me a feeling of deja vu. I thought to myself, I’ve seen this before. The character was true to the book.  He was just photographed in a way that was different. It was the same movie, but just filmed with modern techniques,” said Parks.