Created by John Mankiewicz and Daniel Pyne
Where's Marlowe?, a cinematic gene splice of Spinal Tap and The Maltese Falcon begs the question, "Who's zoomin' who?"
This sly, clever 1998 offering "failed upward from a discarded TV pilot to art movie favourite", according to Dick Lochte. Two hip young filmmakers, Wilton Crawley (hip-hop performer Mos Def) and A.J. Edison (John Livingston), set out to make a documentary about the daily workings of an old-fashioned two-man detective agency in Los Angeles, run by film buff JOE BOONE and his reckless partner, MURPHY (John Slattery).
Much of the film is shot in handheld 16mm fashion, making it all the more believable. When clients walk through the door, they make nervous eye contact with the camera, and are quickly briefed on the documentary being made. But you know, it ain't easy. The detectives are painfully aware that they're being filmed, nothing very dramatic happens, and it looks like the film's a dud.
That changes quickly, however, when Murphy gets himself murdered, and the film makers find themselves losing their professional distance and objectivity. Meanwhile, Boone, sickened by his partner's death, decides to chuck it all, and ditch the detective game. So he takes over the filmmaking.
By most reports, this is a peculiar but enjoyable little flick, as much about film making as it is about detective work, and the mockumentary format lends an quirky, offbeat feel to it all. And Miguel Ferrer just brings it all back home, acting like the pro he is.
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.