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Neil Jordan
Liam Neeson, Diane Kruger, Jessica Lange
Writing Credits:
William Monahan, Neil Jordan

In late 1930s California, a brooding, down on his luck detective is hired to find the ex-lover of a glamorous heiress.

Box Office:
Opening Weekend:
$1,814,094 on 2281 Screens.
Domestic Gross:

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English DVS
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 110 min.
Price: $24.98
Release Date: 4/18/2023

• None


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Marlowe [Blu-Ray] (2023)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (April 25, 2023)

Raymond Chandler’s private eye character Philip Marlowe officially originated in 1939’s The Big Sleep. The character leapt to the silver screen a few years later and continues to stand as a film personality who we now see in 2023’s Marlowe.

Set in Los Angeles circa 1939, heiress Clare Cavendish (Diane Kruger) hires Marlowe (Liam Neeson) to locate movie prop master Nico Peterson (François Arnaud), her lover. Marlowe quickly discovers that Peterson died, apparently due to an accident prompted by his inebriation.

However, Marlowe doesn’t accept this as the whole story, especially because Clare claims Nico faked his own demise. Marlowe continues his investigation, one that leads him deep into unexpected places.

Going into Marlowe, it felt like a cinematic slam-dunk. With a cast that included Neeson, Kruger, Jessica Lange, Danny Huston, Alan Cumming and Colm Meaney as well as talented director Neil Jordan behind the camera, it seemed destined to turn into a winner.

However, that didn’t occur. Marlowe largely received mediocre or worse reviews and it found little audience in theaters.

This kept me away from Marlowe during its multiplex run. Now that I’ve seen it on Blu-ray, I can’t claim I missed anything.

Not that I view Marlowe as an actual “bad movie”. Actually, I wish it reached that level of cinematic atrocity, as something genuinely horrid would provoke a real reaction from me.

Instead, Marlowe proves wholly, relentlessly, completely… meh. It never remotely intrigues the viewer, but it proves professional enough that it also does nothing to repel the audience.

Which makes it a competent but boring movie. Nothing here ever flops, but the end product lacks anything to make the film move.

We get less a “whodunnit” and more a “whocares”. Even the characters barely seem interested in the plot, as all tend to sleepwalk through the tale.

Though Chandler’s Marlowe varied in age across the books, it appears the role remained in his 30s/40s. Nearly 70 during the production, Neeson seems far too old for the part, and this becomes a drawback since so many women – often much younger ladies – need to flirt with him.

Granted, Neeson looks good for his age, and he still pulls off the “movie tough guy” reasonably well. Nonetheless, “Marlowe as AARP member” doesn’t work, and Neeson’s sluggish performance doesn’t help.

I expected the renewed connection between Michael Collins collaborators would inject life into Neeson. However, even paired with Jordan again, Neeson looks just as disinterested here as with all those banal thrillers he makes these days.

None of the supporting cast manages to add vivacity, and the screenplay doesn’t help. Marlowe lacks much coherence and just sends the lead from one dull circumstance to another.

Jordan adds no spark to the proceedings. He aspires to create a snappy neo-noir but instead delivers a slow, lifeless mystery with nothing compelling to make it work.

Again, Marlowe never becomes a cinematic monstrosity, but its status as a dull, lethargic “thriller” seems just as bad a fate. This winds up as a wholly mediocre and uninteresting detective story.

The Disc Grades: Picture A-/ Audio B/ Bonus F

Marlowe appears in an aspect ratio of 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became an outstanding image.

Sharpness worked well. Nary a sliver of softness interfered, so we got a tight, distinctive presentation.

No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and I saw no edge haloes. Print flaw remained absent.

The movie’s palette leaned heavily toward Period Movie Sepia, albeit with a lean toward orange at times as well as some teal. The colors came across well given the film’s stylistic choices.

Blacks felt deep and dense, while shadows appeared smooth and concise. The flick looked great.

Though not as impressive, the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack felt more than suitable. The soundfield mostly focused on ambience, with only sporadic exceptions.

Sporadic violent scenes turned into the most active, but the film generally boasted general environmental information. This worked fine, however, as the soundscape manage to give us an appealing sense of place.

Audio quality satisfied, with speech that came across as natural and concise. Music sounded full and rich.

Effects showed good accuracy and range, albeit with bass that occasionally seemed a little too loud. Nonetheless, the audio largely suited the film.

No extras appear on the Blu-ray.

Some good talent made Marlowe but they failed to imbue life into the proceedings. With a miscast lead actor and zero sense of urgency or intrigue, the movie become a slow ride to nowhere. The Blu-ray offers excellent visuals and appropriate audio but it lacks bonus materials. Don’t expect a taut thriller from this dull dud.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2.3333 Stars Number of Votes: 3
1 3:
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