On paper, Marlowe appears to be a promising new film for Liam Neeson. Neeson’s recent films have been more misses than hits, and I, for one, miss seeing him in a decent film. Marlowe is based on the exploits of a well-known fictional private detective with a cast that includes Academy Award winner Jessica Lange and the stunning Diane Kruger. It’s even directed by a renowned filmmaker, Neil Jordan. Neil Jordan is best known for his 1992 film The Crying Game, followed by 1994’s Interview with the Vampire and 1996’s Michael Collins. However, none of these factors could save this film from being a complete flop.
There are numerous factors that contribute to this conclusion. First and foremost, the plot and script. The mystery is uninteresting, and the characters’ conversations are tedious and often riddled with irrelevant details, making it difficult to distinguish what is important to the plot and what is merely filler. None of the acting appeared to be genuine. Worst of all, our main attraction, Liam Neeson, appeared tired and lifeless. His first few fight scenes looked phoney and amateurish. It doesn’t help that his Marlowe character is portrayed as an inept private investigator. Everyone he interrogates appears to be smarter and a few steps ahead of him. The ending was particularly surprising because if I am not mistaken, I think he actually ended up being an accessory to murder!! I am not sure if I got it right but the line between the good guys and bad guys is here is blurry.
Neil Jordon’s name lent nothing exciting for us to enjoy on the big screen. The entire film felt like it was created on autopilot. The colourful set pieces for some of the scenes may be the only minor plus. Perhaps Neil Jordon’s age had caught up with him, making it difficult for him to maintain the art and energy of his earlier works. Jessica Lange was completely wasted in this role. Her character is made to do very little except act like a b*tch, and she basically gets to repeat her scene a few times, contributing very little to the story’s flow. Diane Kruger is at least attractive, but she is cast in a one-dimensional, predictable role.
With this latest awful outing of Liam Neeson, I think it is time he consider official retirement. It is painful for us loyal fans to watch him in one disaster after another. At most, pair him up with a younger guy and do a buddy movie with kicks and laughs. Alternatively, follow in the footsteps of Nicholas Cage and appear in a variety of bizarre and unusual projects. For the time being, avoid this like the plague!