Yer cute, schweetheart

A down-on-his-luck private eye is asked by a glamorous heiress to track down her ex-lover. His investigation leads him into a world of lies, deceit and danger, etc., etc.

All the ingredients are in place for a fun revival of the noir genre. Liam Neeson is Raymond Chandler’s Phillip Marlowe. Diane Kreuger and Jessica Lange are the various femmes-fatale, Danny Huston and Alan Cumming provide fine support, the camerawork is spot-on, and the director is the esteemed Neil Jordan (The Crying Game, The Good Thief). So why is it so dull?

This tolerably enjoyable if oh-so-obvious period piece plays it so strong and silent, it never gets off the ground. Despite occasional pseudo-comical declarations like, “I’m getting too old for this!” It’s all a bit stilted and mechanical. The aging actors seem bored. The film may be an homage to Bogart et al, but it’s unlikely to reinvent the genre for a new audience. (109 min)