Liam Neeson celebrates his 100th film with “Shadows of a Crime” (“Marlowe”), a thriller in which he stars as classic noir detective Phillip Marlowe in the character’s first big-screen appearance in nearly half a century. The film, which hits local theaters on March 30, is directed by acclaimed director Neil Jordan (“Interview with the Vampire”, “The Crying Game”), as well as the performance of well-known actors such as Diane Kruger, Jessica Lange , Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Danny Huston, and Alan Cumming.
Created by Raymond Chandler in 1939, Philip Marlowe defined an era in literature with his image of the stoic, sarcastic detective who maintains an idealistic heart despite life’s repeated blows. The investigator has also left a mark in the history of cinema, where he has been embodied by renowned performers such as Humphrey Bogart (“The Big Sleep”), Robert Montgomery (“Lady from the Lake”) and Robert Mitchum (“Goodbye, Doll”. ), among others.
“Shadows of a Murder” differs from these films in that it is not based on one of Chandler’s stories, but rather on a more recent novel titled “The Black-Eyed Blonde” by renowned Irish novelist John Banville. The plot, set in 1939, finds Marlowe hired to search for the ex-lover of a glamorous heiress Clare Cavendish (Kruger), a simple case that ultimately involves his history with that of his famous mother, the movie star Dorothy Quincannon (Lange), on a journey that will take you through the dark and sinister side of the golden age of Hollywood.
“I think Philip Marlowe is almost a legend like King Arthur”, Neeson points out in an interview to promote the film. “He has a certain code of ethics that he tries to respect, he’s a bit of a loner. In my opinion, he is a hardened private detective, nothing moves him about the human condition.”.
At first glance, the casting of the 70-year-old Irish actor in the role of the tough Los Angeles detective is somewhat curious, and even changes to the character’s nationality had to be made to allow Neeson to use his natural accent. However, in certain factors the interpreter resembles the character, with minor issues such as his fondness for good liquor and cigarettes – Neeson is an ex-smoker who has spoken about his problems with liquor – or deeper such as the fact that both they have been forged by the tragedies that have marked his life.
Thus, like Marlowe, Neeson understood from a very young age the fragility of human life, spending his youth in Northern Ireland during ‘The Troubles’, a time of sectarian violence and terrorism during the second half of the 20th century that left thousands of victims. Neeson has also been marked by losses, the most serious of which was to his wife, actress Natasha Richardson, in a 2009 ski accident.
“That’s the funny thing about mourning, you can’t prepare for it.”, he said of the death in an interview with Esquire in 2011. “You think you’re going to cry and be done with it. You make those plans, but they never work. It hits you in the middle of the night…I’m walking around, I’m feeling satisfied, and all of a sudden ‘boom’. It’s like something exploded in your chest”.
These experiences have allowed the Hollywood star to become one of the most coveted actors in recent years, with hits like “Schindler’s List,” “Batman Begins” and the “Relentless Quest” franchise. Will “Shadows of a Crime” follow in his footsteps? That’s a mystery he’ll have to solve at the box office.
I have worked as a journalist for over 10 years and have written for various news outlets. I currently work as an author at 24 News Recorder, mostly covering entertainment news. I have a keen interest in the industry and enjoy writing about the latest news and gossip. I am also a member of the National Association of Journalists.