A Walk Among the Tombstones – 3 out of 5
Liam Neeson will pretty much take any script that comes his way (and I’ve heard he’ll even just jump in front of ones in slo-mo and intercept them from others) and this decision results in films of varying quality (but I won't fault his reasons for doing this). The one thing above all else in these films is the fact that Neeson is great in all of them. It’s a rare sight when I see a film with him in it and I say, “Wow, Neeson is pretty bad.” So, how is it when Neeson steps into the role of the iconic private investigator from the successful novel series?
|Walk the fuck among those tombstones!|
Matt Scudder (Liam Neeson) has a history with alcohol and, in 1991, it ended up causing him to make a mistake that left him leaving the police force (he was a cop, by the way). After that, Scudder became an unlicensed private investigator and, in 1999, is asked for help from a local drug trafficker. The man informs him that his wife was kidnapped and murdered despite the fact he gave them the ransom they were asking for. Scudder begins to investigate and finds that others involved in the drug game have had their loved ones ripped from their lives and murdered after the ransom was paid. Now it’s up to Scudder to find out who is behind the killing and bring them to justice.
|They wanted to really show you it was the 90s but stopped from having Liam wear|
a Nirvana shirt.
The trailer, the title, and the presence of the action genre's badass Liam Neeson, I sorta expected a Taken-kinda film. I’m not really familiar with the book series the film is based off of but just the few elements I took in made me think this was going to be a crime thriller with plenty of bullets flying. I was a little surprised to see the film was more about the investigation part than it was about the heaping helping of justice that Liam Neeson has become synonymous with. This ended up with a movie that moved at a slower, more deliberate pace. Expecting Neeson throwing fists with a very specific set of skills threw me greatly and could easily cause people expecting Taken action to become bored with the film.
|By the way, this movie has a lot of scenes with people talking to each other on the phone.|
The story is very interesting but I won’t say it was captivating. There are moments during Scudder’s investigation that really had me glued to the TV but there were also parts that moved far too slowly for me and lacked a great deal of tension and were, for the most part, boring to me. However, the overall story was still interesting enough and contained enough shock factors that it never became overwhelmingly boring. Hell, the film is even nice enough to throw in some mildly satisfying action towards the end of the film. But, the slower pace the story kept still can’t be completely overlooked.
|Seriously, a lot of talking on the phone.|
It’s not surprising that Neeson is very good in the film. He makes the character of Scudder an interesting and broken one. One thing the film did exceptionally well was keeping the film’s main story moving forward while developing the character of Scudder at the same time—without one feeling like it was overwhelming the other. The development of Scudder is only made more intriguing thanks to the very strong performance of Liam Neeson.
|"...anyway, enough about me. When's a good time for me to find and kill you?"|
|"What? Who is this?"|
The rest of the cast, while made up of mostly unrecognizable names or character actors that most people known only because they’ve seen them in that one thing as that one person, back up Neeson very well and make a very believable world. One of my favorite performers in the film was Brian “Astro” Bradley playing the character of TJ; a homeless boy who ends up assisting Scudder in the investigation. The back and forth between him and Scudder made for some of the more lighter moments in the film but also showed how Neeson could have varying degrees of working chemistry with the entire cast.
|Geez...remember what happen the last time you took it upon yourself to guide|
a child, Liam. We don't need another Darth Vader.
A Walk Among the Tombstones didn’t wow me but I definitely found a lot of it to be very interesting and some of it to be very intense. The performances were good and, aside from some boring bits, the story is very interesting. While I won’t lie and say I was hoping for a little more action from this one, the end result was a pretty decent crime thriller with some very strong and realistic performances.
|If Neeson learns how to kill people with his mind, we're all fucked.|