15¦ Blu-ray, DVD

It’s only natural that directors reach a point in their careers where they slow down – whether it’s their decision or outside sources.

Irish director Neil Jordon has certainly had some successes, with films such as 1986’s Mona Lisa, 1992’s The Crying Game - which he won an Oscar for best screenplay - and 1994’s Michael Collins starring Liam Neeson.

The 73 year old has slowed down his output in recent years, with this feature only his third in the last ten years, with the last one being 2018’s Greta.

Here then he re-unites with Neeson for a classic detective yarn featuring the iconic private dick Philip Marlowe.

boom reviews Marlowe
Now that's the most curious Uber i've had in a long tme.

Bay City, California, 1939, and private detective Philip Marlowe (Neeson) is just receiving his next client into his office. Her name is Clare Cavendish (Diane Kruger) and she has a simple enough request; her lover Nico Peterson (François Arnaud) has gone missing, and she wants Marlowe to find him for her.

It’s your standard case for any P.I, so Marlowe happily accepts. It doesn’t take him long however, before he uncovers some rather bad news to relay to her – he’s dead. Now as you would suspect, that would normally be the end of a case, but there’s a thread there that Marlowe keeps tugging at that leads him to believe that all isn’t quite what it seems with this case.

boom reviews Marlowe
Now i'm warning you, i've lost many a man in these eyes before.

There’s a lot to enjoy here if you’re a fan of film noir, as Jordan clearly is. The late thirties setting is very atmospheric, which is impressive when you consider that the film was shot in Barcelona and Dublin.

It also has a quality cast, which includes the likes of Jessica Lange, Ian Hart, Alan Cumming, Colm Meaney and Danny Huston. And of course Neeson cuts an imposing figure as Marlowe, physically at least, but perhaps the soft Irish lilt to his American accent gives him away somewhat, and waters down his performance. It also may well be the reason that the film doesn’t have the trademark world weary voice over from the protagonist, which is a shame as the film is crying out for it.

The dialogue is pleasingly snappy at times, quite Chandler-esque despite being based on Irish writer John Banville’s 2014 novel The Black-Eyed Blonde.

The story is a little too convoluted in places however, unnecessarily so, whilst also never putting Marlowe in any great sense of harm at any point, which he often found himself in within the pages of Raymond Chandler’s collection of novels about him.

Jordan almost makes up for it with the ambience of the time, nailing the period spot on, albeit framed in daylight and sunshine, which you don’t really get in traditional film noirs.

Sadly the film is a little on the soft side, being about as hard edge as a plate of jelly, With Jordan almost giving his Marlowe the more genteel Poirot approach.

The best scenes however are those that sees Neeson confronted with either of the femme fatales, particularly those where he faces off with legend Lange.

Still, it’s a step or two in the right direction for the out of practice Jordan, and it’s good to see him back behind the camera once more albeit if not entirely successfully.

If you’re a fan of either his work or Neeson’s, it’s certainly worth investigating, just don’t expect it be wholly satisfying when the case is finally closed.

we give this three out of five