There are a lot of buzzworthy movies hitting theaters over the next few months. But for fans of film noir, Marlowe is a definite must-see. Starring film icon Liam Neeson, Marlowe is a crime thriller that calls to mind detective films of old. The project marks a change of pace for Neeson, who has been acting primarily in violent action films over the past few years. Marlowe was a true labor of love for Neeson. He worked with the production to film prime scenes in exotic locations all over the world, including Spain and Ireland.
‘Marlowe’ debuted in theaters on February 15
Marlowe tells the story of Neeson’s hardboiled fictional detective Philip Marlowe. A glamorous heiress, played by Diane Kruger, hires him to find her ex-boyfriend after he mysteriously goes missing. In addition to Neeson and Kruger, Marlowe features Jessica Lange, Alan Cumming, and Danny Huston. Set in 1939, the film recalls the film noirs of old, all while injecting fresh energy into the beloved genre.
Marlowe hit theaters on February 15, 2023, and has received mixed reviews from critics. On the review site Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a 25% on the Tomatometer, along with a 46% audience score. Many critics praised the work of the talented cast. Others claimed that the storyline was intriguing enough to sustain the questions that the plot raised.
Where was ‘Marlowe’ filmed?
Marlowe is set in 1930s Los Angeles, but it was filmed in a variety of locations around the world. In a September 2022 interview, Neeson and the film’s director, Neil Jordan, discussed how the bulk of Marlowe was filmed in Barcelona, Spain. As reported by Variety, Neeson said that the area was a perfect dupe for L.A. “I used to live in Laurel Canyon and where we filmed in Barcelona was a replica for Laurel Canyon,” the action star said.
Portions of Marlowe were also shot in Dublin, Ireland. This all helped to create a version of the California that doesn’t exist– except in the imaginations of viewers. “We made up our period of Los Angeles,” Jordan said. “We had to invent an imaginary city because if you go to L.A. there’s nothing left of that period. They destroyed it.”
Philip Marlowe has inspired many onscreen adaptations
For Neeson, an established Hollywood veteran, the chance to play Philip Marlowe was an opportunity to connect to the silver-screen stars of old. “There have been some extraordinary actors like Bogart, or Elliott Gould in Robert Altman’s The Long Goodbye was marvelous,” Neeson said. “And of course, Robert Mitchum played him in the early ’70s (Farewell My Lovely). I’m an avid reader, but I had never read Raymond Chandler.”
Of course, the character of Philip Marlowe has appeared on the big screen many times of the decades. Writer Raymond Chandler created him in the 1930s, first appearing in the 1939 crime novel The Big Sleep. He later appeared in many short stories and novellas before eventually becoming a prime character in film noirs of the period.
Philip Marlowe was perhaps most notably played by Humphrey Bogart in the 1946 classic The Big Sleep. The character is recognizable for his world-weary charm, his smart quips — and of course, his skill at cracking a tough case. With Neeson, who is best known for his roles in films like Taken, stepping into the character’s careworn shoes, it is likely that the detective genre will receive a new influx of fans.