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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

Long in the Tooth

Marlowe on IMDb

Plot Overview

hour glassDateline Oct., 1939. Bay City [Hollywood], California. Philip Marlowe (Liam Neeson) had a bad war. He was in the Royal Irish Rifles at the Somme. After­wards in the 20's he worked as a roust­about in the Texas oil fields. Then he got on with the L.A. D.A. as an investigative detective, but that didn't work out so well. His bullish manner was a poor fit for modern police work, and he was maladapted to civilian life any­way (“You were never a team player, never went along to get along.”) He gave up his pension and settled into private practice as a gum­shoe in the big city. He barely keeps on the good side of the law for periodic altercations and obstruction. His reputation has now brought him an heiress Mrs. Clare Cavendish (Diane Kruger) who hires him to find her missing lover Nicholas “Nico” Peterson (François Arnaud.) Others are looking for him, too, for reasons unknown.

briefcaseSeems Nico has some­thing others want, or they don't want anybody else to have it. In his younger days Marlowe could hold his own when push came to shove, but age has diminished his physical presence. He compensates by drawing on his wisdom of years. If it looks like a fight is unavoidable, he gets in the first blow. He's careful not to let any­one slip him a Mickey Finn (Miguel Finn.) And he doesn't sleep around, especially not with his employer.

He's no Sherlock Holmes or James Bond, more of an uncompromising plodder who eventually gets results. Be prepared for a long slog to see it happen.


rejectMarlowe's secretary Hilda (Stella Stocker) came to the big city not to see the stars but to be one. Apparently so did the pretty number in the office across from Marlowe's and the police­woman secretary. There are a couple do-or-die cautions one should prayer­fully take before coming here … or embarking on life in general: (Prov. 30:7) “Two things have I required of thee; deny me them not before I die:”

smile(Prov. 30:8-9) “Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.” The get-rich-quick scheme relies on “vanity and lies.” Nico (“I think he's from Cleveland”) is a case in point: “Guy like Peter­son, they come out here, fail a screen test, and they do what they gotta do.” He “collected junk, pretend antiques for the movies. There's a man in Baja thinks Nico is actually a producer. He's been fleeced.” From Mexico is trafficked “girls, boys, heroin, coke.” Nico has a piece of that (“This is L.A.. People are on the make.”) Vanity and lies.

chauffeurrooster and chick“Give me neither poverty nor riches.” Cedric (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) the colored chauffeur for local gangster Lou Hendricks (Alan Cumming) is the “progeny of share­croppers.” Famous actress Dorothy Quincannon (Jessica Lange) has “more money than the Queen of Sheba.”

“Feed me with food convenient for me.” Marlowe is the good example of “just an ordinary Joe trying to earn a buck and stay out of jail.” He refuses gifts, promotions and double payment. He lives in a “little house … like some kind of monk. You got no regular self-interest any­one can count on.”

“Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the LORD?” The movie star is so career-oriented that she'd forgo the joys of mother­hood to pretend her daughter is her niece, under her advisors' counsel that being a mother would age her.

“Or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.” The idea here is the thief once found out would swear falsely in God's name that he didn't take it. Cedric took his escape from poverty to become a gangster's hench­man, and so he ended up doing a lot of things he later regretted.

Production Values

” was directed by Neil Jordan. William Monahan wrote the screenplay adapted from John Banville's 2014 novel, The Black-Eyed Blonde. It stars Liam Neeson with Diane Kruger, Jessica Lange, Alan Cumming, Danny Huston, Ian Hart, Colm Meaney, and Patrick Muldoon. Neeson has an age-appropriate grand­fatherly chemistry with Kruger. He seems to be beyond caring for women in the ordinary way. He's lost some of Marlowe's trade­mark edge, as well. The supporting cast does a good job.

MPAA rated it R for language, violent content, some sexual material and brief drug use. The set decorations and costumes are period appropriate but seem to be—pardon the pun—staged. It just doesn't sizzle, sort of like cooking pan­cakes with inadequate heat: they end up droopy.

Review Conclusion w/a Christian's Recommendation

If you key in on the lead's name recognition and the genre ambiance, you may find this one disap­pointing. If you accept it as an occasion for a franchise hero to age out grace­fully, there's nothing wrong with it. I like all kinds of movies and appreciated this one.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Decent action scenes. Suitability For Children: Not Suitable for Children of Any Age. Special effects: Average special effects. Video Occasion: Better than watching TV. Suspense: Several suspenseful moments. Overall movie rating: Three stars out of five.