If you have no interest in Zen or Buddhism, its unlikely you'll find anything exceptional in Zen Noir, except perhaps for Debra Miller's boobs. While these were remarkably firm, the film is unbearably flat.
Dressing his project out in 1940's hard-boiled detective genre, first-time American director Marc Rosenbush attempts with minimal set and plot to play both high camp and high philosophy. Neither really work. Ostensibly a murder mystery, the film is not so much about murder as it is life, not about who did it, but what it all means. To get to the big scene, though, you'll have to sit through an hour of trite jokes, a string of non-sequiturs to test the patience of even seasoned practitioners. “Where were you at the time of the murder?” the detective asks. “What do you mean by time?” the monk rejoins. To the wizened master the detective pleads, “Help me still my mind.” Zen students know what line comes next - “Ok, give me your mind.”
The acting isn't bad, and the music seems fairly interesting, though nothing you'd seek out on CD. But even if you're interested in Zen or Buddhism, about the only reason to watch Zen Noir is much the same reason I had. I was too tired to read a book, too tired to meditate, not yet ready for bed, and had nothing else to watch.