Spenser Confidential

Spenser Confidential

Peter Berg (2020)

111min
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Review

Our Score
Growing up in 1980s Boston, the teenage Mark Wahlberg was a fan of the TV detective series Spenser: for Hire, which was both set in and shot on his doorstep. In what's something of a personal passion project - he produces as well as stars - Wahlberg is back in his home city, now playing the white-knight private eye who's remarkably adept at getting beaten up, considering he's also an ex-boxer. He's also back with director Peter Berg, for their fifth film together. But unlike the much more cinematic Lone Survivor or Patriots Day, Spenser Confidential has the look and structure of a TV series reboot - author Robert B Parker wrote 40 Spenser books and Ace Atkins has written eight more since Parker died, so there's really no shortage of material if more instalments get greenlit. This opener takes a while to get going, but once the standard-issue back story is out of the way, busted-cop Spenser is out of jail (wrongful incarceration, of course) and on the case of a double cop killer, the pace picks up. Wahlberg's dog-eared charm - think a compact Rockford Files-era James Garner - is a real plus here, and so are the support players. Winston Duke has charisma but is a touch underused, but then it took Parker four books to even introduce Spenser's taciturn mixed-martial-arts man-mountain sidekick, Hawk. The same is also true of wry, quippy father figure Alan Arkin. Getting the best of it is stand-up comic Iliza Shlesinger as Spenser's ballsy, caustic ex, a spitfire standout who gets all the biggest laughs.

Cast & Crew

Spenser Mark Wahlberg
Hawk Winston Duke
Henry Alan Arkin
Cissy Davis Iliza Shlesinger
Captain Boylan Michael Gaston
Driscoll Bokeem Woodbine
Betty Colleen Camp
Director Peter Berg
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColour