By Mark Fields

Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe (along with his equally iconic Sam Spade) captures the essence of the 1940s hard-boiled detective. Honorable but world-weary Marlowe has been portrayed in film noir classics by Humphrey Bogart, Robert Mitchum, Elliot Gould, and now in a 2023 iteration, Liam Neeson. Marlowe, which also stars Diane Kruger and Jessica Lange as a dangerous daughter-mother duo, is based on a 2014 novel inspired by the work of Chandler, The Black-Eyed Blonde. The film successfully evokes the characteristics of noir that showcased these familiar and densely-plotted detective stories. If anything, it is a bit too faithful to recognizable noir tropes. But the frisson of a thoroughly corrupt and unknowable Los Angeles underworld is disappointedly absent here, as is any real commitment to the story from the performers or the director, Neill Jordan, The result is a sadly pale imitation of an evocative subgenre, femmes but no fatale.

Mark Fields
Mark Fields has reviewed movies for Out & About since October 2008. In addition, he has written O&A profiles of documentarian Harry Shearer and actress Aubrey Plaza. Over the years, Mark also has written on film for several publications in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and his home state of Indiana, where he also served as on-air movie critic for Indianapolis’s public radio station. Mark was an adjunct instructor of film history at Rowan University from 1998 to 2018. A career arts administrator, he retired in fall 2021 after 16 years as an executive at Wilmington’s Grand Opera House. Mark now leads bike tours part-time and is working on a screenplay. He lives in Trolley Square with his partner Wendy. Mark spent the fastest 22 minutes of his life as an unsuccessful contestant on Jeopardy…sadly, there were no movie questions.