Critical Condition: Monsier Spade

Here’s what critics are saying about Clive Owen’s take on Sam Spade in Monsieur Spade, which launches today on Sky’s Rialto Channel:

“The namesake of Monsieur Spade is none other than Sam Spade (Clive Owen), the private investigator who headlined the Dashiell Hammett novel turned John Huston film noir The Maltese Falcon, plus a handful of Hammett short stories published in the 1930s. For their spin on Spade, series creators Tom Fontana (Oz) and Scott Frank (The Queen’s Gambit) send the sleuth to the south of France, where he spends a few weeks of his not-so-peaceful retirement looking into a massacre at a local convent … a classic noir hero in the best kind of fanfiction.” — Variety.

“With world-weary and rapier wit, Clive Owen brings a rugged charisma to Spade … an evocative mystery series.” — TV Insider.

Somewhat fuzzy … I was consistently intrigued by the series, especially for Owen’s interestingly prickly work and the beauty of the surroundings, but it isn’t always clear why Frank and Fontana were inspired to reconsider Sam Spade, and their approach isn’t always compelling.” — The Hollywood Reporter.

“Frank and Fontana aspire to the hard-boiled, quick-witted dialogue of ’30s pulp fiction, though sometimes to a degree that seems overly deliberate and even facetious … New characters arrive with regularity. Who killed whom is a question. It might be called convoluted. But Mr. Owen manages to keep things on track.” — Wall Street Journal.

“The fun isn’t finding out which dastardly French person did what dirty deed, it’s watching Owen’s Spade figure it all out, in between hearty gulps of whiskey … très magnifique.” — The AV Club.

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