Cert: 15 Runtime: 113 mins Director: Scott Frank Cast: Liam Neeson, Dan Stevens, Brian ‘Astro’ Bradley and David Harbour
People are afraid of all the wrong things
Regardless of what Liam Neeson stars in I will be there watching it, A Walk Among The Tombstones seems like a Neeson movie. This man is typecast now unfortunately as a one man machine, he has special skills and wins the day. What makes this film any different? Matt Scudder (Liam Neeson) used to be an NYPD cop until a shootout in a bar went wrong – with tragic consequences. Now he works in the twilight world of the unlicensed private investigator. He reluctantly agrees to help a heroin trafficker (Dan Stevens) whose wife was kidnapped and murdered even after the ransom was paid. The trafficker wants those responsible hunted down. But as Matt digs deeper, he finds that this is not the first time the sick and twisted gang has committed such a heinous crime. His most dangerous case yet becomes a race against time through the streets of New York to prevent another killing!
A Walk Among the Tombstones brings tension to the audience throughout the entire film in the hunting of the two disturbed beings. The hunt is in the form of heavy detective work involving talking to suspects, retracing footsteps and trying to piece information together. For once, the mystery has a bit of realism to it, forgoing the convenient pieces of information, for a process that involves actually working for clues. As the movie progresses, the ambiguous nature and seemingly simple motive starts to reveal itself. With each new clue, the mentality of the perpetrators becomes clearer. Yet the unstable psyche and constant calls of the psychos continue to re-establish the terror of what will happen next. Sure, you have a good idea of what the outcomes will be, but there is just enough uncertainty to have you doubting your thoughts. Mixed into the bag is some character development amongst the various players in the game, each with their own set of dark secrets that explains why they are scarred for life. Some of these points are relevant, but the mistake here is that they are played over and over again as they build up to the revelation, one of which you already know from the trailers. Other plot elements though are not so relevant or as big as they thought. Some hasty connections were an attempt to add another layer of depth to the story, but I felt the audience could have done without them. Still it gives the cast a little more depth, and provides some emotional depth to an otherwise monotone cast. Perhaps the strongest element of the character development though is the inspiration they have. Albeit a little cheesy in the presentation, there is a good message to those who may have a similar history as Neeson’s character.
The emphasis of facing your demons instead of running from them is a lesson many could use a refresher course in. Yet the message is drawn out, much like the background, and sometimes adds unneeded length to the movie. As for the suspense of the movie, as mentioned I before it is the psychotic mindset of the killers that keeps you in suspense. The only problem with this though is that, with the exception of the last part of the movie, the damage has already been done. Unfortunately for the cast, many of the crimes have already been committed, which dulls the intensity of their acts and makes the film a little boring at first. On the opposite side of spectrum, is that some of the actions are a little too well done, especially at times of torture. As stoic as I am against the usual antics, this movie crossed the line a couple of times to really disturb me. A Walk Among the Tombstones is a nice crime/drama to bide your time with. Those looking for a little pre-Halloween terror will get your fill with this movie, though in truth there are not a lot of technological aspects that make it cinema worthy. Still if you are Liam Neeson fan, jump into this crime drama and be ready for a calmer film than his legendary Taken film.