Spenser Confidential (2020)
Director: Peter Berg
Screenplay: Sean O’Keefe & Brian Helgeland based on characters created by Robert B. Parker and the novel by Ace Atkins
Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Winston Duke, Alan Arkin, Bokeem Woodbine, Marc Maron, Donald Cerrone and Post Malone.
The Pitch: “Let’s turn Ace Akins’ Robert B. Parker’s Spenser novel into a movie!”
Tagline: The Law Has Limits. They Don’t.
The Overview: Beware of Spoilers…
If you’re not a fan of Robert B. Parker and Ace Atkins Spenser characters there’s an outside chance you may like Spenser Confidential. If you are a fan of the books, my guess is that you’ll hate this movie. That’s because not a single character goes unchanged to something fundamentally different from the novels.
Spenser goes from an intelligent, wisecracking ex-cop to a less than stellar (IQ-wise) ex-con who aspires to be a trucker. In the novels, Susan is a Harvard-educated, calm, supporting soul mate to Spenser. In the movie she becomes a foul-mouthed, crazy girlfriend that Spenser works to avoid until he needs sex or help with the “case”. In the novels Hawk starts out as a respected rival who works on the fringes of the law and ultimately becomes Spenser’s best friend (outside of Susan). In the movie Hawk is a big, nerdy, untrained lug who dreams of being a MMA Champion who is forced to be Spenser’s roommate.
Peter Berg is usually a director that makes fun movies. Not here. Brian Helgeland wrote the screenplays for LA Confidential, Payback, Mystic River, and Man on Fire. Spenser Confidential isn’t in the same ballpark… not even the same continent.
You may be thinking that if I wasn’t such a big fan of Parker and Atkins’ Spenser novels I would have liked Spenser Confidential better. Perhaps I would have liked it a bit more… but not much.