Detective Marlowe, the Hollywood case is yours! (Marlow, 2023, reception)

As some of you already know, for some time now I have decided to take on my responsibilities and act as resident expert Philip Marlowe here in Valverde.
A story about Marlowe’s films and action heroes created quite a stir a couple of years ago and achieved such success that even the (usually indifferent) 400 Calci founder Nannibal “Nanni” Cobretti was impressed. Since then my life has changed. I have a padded office and a personal phone number, where I constantly get calls from panicked stylists who don’t know what to pair with a fedora, or novice drinkers who ask me what the best alcohol is to forget the stunning beauty who seduced and threw them away. It’s a lot of work, but someone has to do it.
The news that Marlowe’s new film was coming out left no doubt as to who would be responsible for it. And here we have the ninth film adaptation of the adventures of a detective with a heart of gold and fists of steel with a laconic title Marlow (Detective Marlowe Here With Us), directed and starring the most incredible Irish duo I could think of: Neil Jordan and Liam Neeson.

A little digression: who is Neil Jordan? Who Really?
If you’ve followed his career as casually as I have, there’s no doubt in your mind: Neil Jordan is a sexy horror director. Interview with a Vampire, In the company of wolves, Byzantium – which honestly I’ve never seen and everyone says it’s pretty stupid, but there’s Gemma Arterton and Saoirse Ronan who are vampires, what are the chances they’re not also sexy?
Blood, sex, fear. These are the ingredients of Neil Jordan’s cinema.
But not really.
In fact, if you take a closer look at IMDb (a very valuable tool for us private investigators), Jordan’s filmography is quite varied and ranges from comedies to social dramas that my mom would watch, from non-sexy horror films to romantic films, don’t forget ( I completely forgot) Oscar for Soldier’s Wife, a film so famous for its plot twist that no one in the world has any idea what the remaining 110 minutes are about. And, especially, the Oscar: imagine what it can do to a director if he wins an Oscar at 40 years old, after a couple of films he plunges into irrelevance and remains there for the rest of his career.
Many wondered whether Liam Neeson would be suitable for the role of Marlowe. Idiot question: would Liam Neeson be the actor to also play Meryl Streep (now that I think about it, Liam Neeson and Meryl Streep made a movie together: how crazy would it be if Neeson played both roles?). A non-idiotic question might be: is Neil Jordan the right auteur to direct the film? Marlow?


From the interview I learned that Liam Neeson and Neil Jordan have been friends for a long time. They met in their early thirties on the set of a film. Excalibur John Boorman, where Neeson played the Knight of the Round Table Gawain, and Jordan, uncredited, was Boorman’s assistant of all trades. Then they made three more films together – A good mood (unprecedented Italian title: Ghosts to be tied up), Michael Collins AND Breakfast on Pluto – and now that they’re both in their 70s, they pat themselves on the back and agree that it’s important not to be picky about doing their jobs. Of course Shakespeare, of course films about the struggle for Irish independence, but what’s wrong with taking an ATM while walking? Taken and its 19th-century derivatives or a costume series about Zinna and palace intrigue during the years of maximum popularity Game of Thrones. And then you see that maybe they are the right people to make a movie like this. Marlow.

Because let’s face it, Marlow he has no ambition to shake cinema to its core. Philip Marlowe is a well-known and respected literary intellectual, but he treats characters so old and out of fashion that half the public – those who live in battles over social issues and judge films by the number of minorities represented – are simply not uninteresting, and the other half are not , who has once and for all turned off his critical sense and measures films by the number of scenes after the credits – will believe that he is seeing an imitation Black.
Balancing between homage to the classics and digital television, with a handful of not-so-recent stars on apparent autopilot and a screenwriter who specializes in recycling other people’s material, Marlow this is the kind of movie you really enjoy watching when you have no other choice. Jordan and Neeson’s very delicate task is to convince you not to turn off the TV after 15 minutes.

Another aside: I have never read Marlowe’s books.
Now someone will say: “Oh, maybe you meant the book.” Raymond ChandlerBut he won’t be able to finish his sentence because he’ll be beaten and locked in a locker. I also find it more convenient to say “Marlowe’s books” because the character of Philip Marlowe continued to enjoy excellent editorial health even after the death of his creator in 1959, which I was not really aware of, but all the more so in reality was the case. shouldn’t surprise us (it happens to James Bond, Jack Ryan, even Michael Corleone). Between 1989 and 2023, six authorized novels featuring Philip Marlowe as the main character were released, all canon and written by different authors. The 2023 film is based on one of these novels. Blonde with black eyes (Black-eyed blonde) John Banville, but this is not even the first: Poodle Springs1998, starring James Caan as Marlowe, based on the novel of the same name, unfinished by Chandler and completed in 1988 by Robert Parker, creator of Detective Spenser (from Spencer Confidential with Marky Mark) and provincial policeman Jesse Stone (one of one and a half thousand TV films with Tom Selleck). But I got distracted by my own retreat.
Can a Marlowe expert call himself such without having read a single book? Yes, because cinema is clearly the highest art, and if you don’t agree, I’ll specifically pay some thugs to beat you up and lock you in a locker. My only concern is that I haven’t been able to get my hands on the 90’s anthology series yet. Fallen angels, which, among other things, features an episode in which Marlowe is played by Danny Glover. If you have ideas, you know where to find me.


Los Angeles, 1939. A stunning blonde hires 70-year-old Irishman Philip Marlowe to search for her missing lover, and the case turns out to be much larger and more complex than it seemed at first glance. Diane Kruger as the stunning blonde and Jessica Lange as her mother, a former very rich actress who is in constant conflict with her daughter. There’s Alan Cummings as the gangster, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as his driver, and a wasted Daniela Melchior (♥) as a drug-addicted prostitute who dies after saying two lines. Hollywood is central to the entire story, its legacy, its main characters, its importance to the city of Los Angeles. But there is much more talk about intrigue, scandals and power plays between studios than about films.

“Cinema is so great!”

Don’t believe her, Marlowe!

Hello Dani ♥

Can I tell you how the movie ends, or at least explain the plot in more detail? No, but that’s how these types of stories work: two thousand characters, a very tangled web of relationships that’s impossible to remember, an epiphany that’s nearing its end and you just have to accept that Marlowe has gotten there. because yes. And that’s part of the fun. Just don’t get too hung up on things like solving the case, generally accept that things are never as they seem (is there a character who seems to be his friend? He’s a mathematician who will betray him in the middle of the movie. There’s a character who is hostile to him, when he appears. At the end of the film they become best friends) and enjoy the atmosphere and mood of this dusty, sultry Los Angeles, the world capital of vice – comically recreated between Dublin and Barcelona.

I mean, you guys don’t understand the level of depravity.

After all, Liam Neeson is a charming grandfather. And aside from a couple of fist fights accompanied by the inevitable “I’m too old for this shit,” he doesn’t pretend for a second to be younger than he actually is. His Marlow is melancholic, twilight, weighed down by years; he no longer has the slightest interest in women (except for his age, perhaps the fact that all his life he was offended by every woman who entered his office played a role in this), on the other hand, there is warmth and sympathy in Neeson’s interpretation, which I’ve never seen any other actor play the same character. Is he a good Marlowe? AND A Marlow.
The real surprise, however, was Neil Jordan. After 30 years of films I didn’t care about, I felt justified in presenting them as weak, scholastic and boring, half stoned and half mummified. Instead, the dick is weak, Jordan has a very steady hand, has complete control of the set, and manages to pull off the incredible feat of creating a fast-paced movie consisting of almost nothing but people talking (one on Letterboxd defined it as “two hours of Liam Neeson asking this guy “Does he know that guy”: I laughed). Marlow it is a film full of staircases, streets, corridors, vantage points from which to observe other vantage points, in which the action takes place on several levels of depth, and in which characters move even when they are stationary.

There are those who fall and there are those who rise.

Not only is the set design very remarkable and never trite within the genre (did I mention that Hollywood was rebuilt in Barcelona?), but Jordan uses all the space available to him, up and down – something that very few others have yet there is a desire to do this – and in general, out of every ten frames, he puts one that is much more beautiful than the film to which it belongs.


I wonder how such a flop could happen (only 5 million at the box office, which probably doesn’t cover the cost of color grading), but aside from random distribution and non-existent promotion, I guess that’s what happens when a movie isn’t very clear who it is audience: Marlow it’s simultaneously too modern for our fathers and too old for any of my peers who aren’t noir flippers. Critics most often accuse it of being “boring”, and maybe I’m being touchy, but it’s a bit like the reaction of someone who doesn’t understand what’s in front of them when the film is neither action nor action. nor a character study. It’s a detective story, whatever the fuck you want: there’s a guy in a hat who asks questions and throws punches until he finds out what he needed to find out. This isn’t the kind of movie that knocks you off your feet, it doesn’t rain, it’s proudly average stuff, a little uncool, and probably the only people who really believed in it were Jordan and Neeson. But if they were all those ordinary, unlucky things that almost no one believes in, we’d be uncorking sparkling wine from Lidl. As someone somewhere said: it’s better than good: it’s good enough.

Where the hell did they spread this – quotes:

“Philip Marlowe is here to ask questions and throw punches. And he’s definitely not old enough to throw punches anymore.”
Quantum Tarantino,

>> IMDb | Trailer

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