Against All Odds

Perpetrated by Taylor Hackford and Columbia Pictures You've heard of film noir? This is more like film nah. Or probably more precisely, neo-nah. I can't list the P.I who has the lead role in this sloppy-seconds remake of Out of the Past, the 1947 noir classic, because, well, there is no P.I.--they got rid of him. … Continue reading Against All Odds

Leonard Shelby (Memento)

Created by Jonathan Nolan Adapted for the screen by Christopher Nolan ''I can't make new memories.'' Seen Memento yet? It's a truly mind-blowing film that should get as much exposure as possible. The main character, LEONARD SHELBY, is (or at least was) a P.I. (well, actually, an insurance investigator). But I think this qualifies him … Continue reading Leonard Shelby (Memento)

James Reardon (The Killers)

Created by Ernest Hemingway Adapted by Anthony Veiller It feels like some sort of cheat to credit Ernest Hemingway as the "creator" of hard-working tough guy insurance dick JAMES REARDON here, since Papa's snippet of a short story (originally published in 1927), didn't even have a detective--by any name--in it. It simply related the tale … Continue reading James Reardon (The Killers)

Robert Bogerud (Detektiv Downs)

Created by Bård Breien It's not often you get to see a private eye flick where the gumshoe has Down Syndrome, but that's exactly what the so far well-received Detective Downs, a 2013 Norweigian comedy mystery that made the North American film festival circuit, promised. ROBERT BOGERUD is the sleuth in question. He's twenty-eight, and … Continue reading Robert Bogerud (Detektiv Downs)

Patrick Kenzie & Angie Gennaro

Created by Dennis Lehane (1965--) Dennis Lehane's 1994 A Drink Before the War rocked the boat when it came out, and introduced childhood pals turned Boston private eyes PATRICK KENZIE and ANGELA GENNARO. Patrick and Angie grew up in an Irish/Polish/Italian working-class neighbourhood where "your boundaries begin in the schoolyard and last a lifetime" (according … Continue reading Patrick Kenzie & Angie Gennaro

Harry Dobbs & Stella Wynkowski (Love at Large)

"The one who is in love always waits. It's the lover's signature." -- Stella offers Harry a bit of wisdom from The Love Manual Tom Berenger is HARRY DOBBS, a wonderfully befuddled, rumpled, but earnest private eye with an extremely jealous girlfriend. He's hired by a mysterious femme fatale, Miss Dolan, to tail her possibly … Continue reading Harry Dobbs & Stella Wynkowski (Love at Large)

Trixie Zurbo (Trixie)

Created by Alan Rudolph "She's dead now. She's never gonna be the same again." Back in 1990, cult writer/director (and Robert Altman protegée)  Alan Rudolph scored big with Love at Large, a quirky but charming screwball noir meditation on love, the games people play, and old detective films. It featured Tom Berenger and Elizabeth Perkins … Continue reading Trixie Zurbo (Trixie)

Joe (You Were Never Really Here)

Created by Jonathan Ames A dark and disturbing character study dressed up in action flick clothes, You Were Never Really Here (2017) stars Joaquin Phoenix as JOE, an unstable former FBI agent and Marine, plagued by thoughts of suicide. He hunts down missing girls in the New York City area, but he's not some slick, handsome private eye … Continue reading Joe (You Were Never Really Here)

John Collins (Skip Tracer)

Created by Zale R. Dalen "He'll be sure you pay--one way or another!" -- tagline on the VHS edition Hey! Did I just dream this? JOHN COLLINS is the low-key, taciturn debt collector "hero" of Skip Tracer, a bleak, decidedly non-glamourous, low-budget Canadian character study released in 1977. Make no mistake--Collins is no goody two-shoes. … Continue reading John Collins (Skip Tracer)

“It’s Not Supposed to Matter”

"The Conversation" Remembered You can't fit The Conversation into any neat, cinematic genre convention. It's a bleak, cynical character study within a psychological thriller. It's also an inside-out twist on the traditional hard-boiled P.I. as Round Table knight. Harry Caul (Gene Hackman) is no gumshoe. He's a surveillance expert. A legendary eavesdropper considered tops in … Continue reading “It’s Not Supposed to Matter”