Movie Review: ‘A Walk Among the Tombstones’
Director: Scott Frank
Starring: Liam Neeson, Dan Stevens, David Harbour, Astro
Plot: A former cop and former alcoholic turned unlicensed private eye reluctantly takes on a case for a drug dealer whose wife was kidnapped and murdered even after he paid the ransom. He learns that those behind the crime are much more sinister and terrifying than he expected.
Review: Stepping easily into the role following his hard-nosed tough guy routine in the Taken series, Liam Neeson as Scudder is once again out to clean up the grimier side of society. Depicted at the beginning of the film as a corrupt and heavy drinking cop whose own folly took him down a dark path. Having accepted his place in the world he does unofficial detective and ruffian work for friends in exchange for favours. Approached by a member of his AA group to help out his brother, Scudder finds himself unable to turn his back on the evil he uncovers.
You know what to expect from Neeson in this kind of role, this style of movie having become his bread and butter this past decade. He’s rough, grizzled and dangerous when cornered. If you want to see his character from Taken given a bit more depth and introspection then this is already going to be worth the time. Although the only household name on the cast list he’s well supported by the drug dealers, grifters and perverts he becomes embroiled in.
The crime itself is a disturbing one, and the film pulls no punches in depicting it as an evil deed. Unlike many modern thrillers there’s no time spent addressing the psychology of the killers, giving them gimmicks or nicknames or casting them as anti-heroes of some kind. The bad guys are downright vicious and horrid. This is one of those instances where, as a viewer, you just want them to get what’s coming to them. As the film progresses we get more insight into their process and homelife and it does nothing to make it any less unsettling.
As a first time director behind a major release Scott Frank does a decent bit of work. The focus is kept tight on the characters and the movie moves at a steady pace, even if things get a bit heavy handed during the finale. If you want a tough, nasty thriller we’ve seen plenty worse.
Rating: SEVEN out of TEN