Directed by Scott Frank, A Walk among the Tombstones is based on the novel of the same name by Lawrence Block.
We first see former NYPD detective Matt Scudder (Liam Neeson- Taken) in the early 1990’s where he clumsily takes down three crooks in New York City. Fast forward to 1999, and he’s retired, sober and scarred by the tragic outcome of that frenzied shootout. Working as an unlicensed private investigator, Scudder is employed by nefarious businessman Kenny Kristo (Dan Stevens- The Guest) to unravel the events leading up to the abduction of the wealthy criminal’s wife. With the aid of young, tech-savvy rebel TJ (Brian “Astro” Bradley- Earth to Echo), the weathered bloodhound gradually follows the cunning tracks of two alarming killers.
The killers Ray (David Harbour of End of Watch), and Albert (Adam David Thompson of +1) make for incredibly creepy villains, mirthfully indulging in the rape of young girls and innocent wives. They videotape their horror and ask for substantial ransom from the respective families of the victims.
Some may find the pacing of A Walk among the Tombstone slightly slow but it does pick up as we get into the third act when the daughter of yet another drug dealer is taken. Scudder communicates directly with the bad guys and sets the terms of the exchange to try ensure that this time around, they don’t kill the girl. Things become a series of action-style gunplay and bloody violence but it does give somewhat of a solid conclusion.
Liam Neeson was a great choice for the lead. While the trailer might give the impression, and the audiences might be expecting it, this is not another Taken. Neeson’s character, Scudder, is a broken and defeated man who is literally living out the consequences of his former choices, or lack thereof, by etching out a meagre existence on the margins of society as an unlicensed private investigator. He works for “favors”, not a paycheck.
A Walk among the Tombstones is grim and dark throughout and while the mystery portion isn’t all that original, a good cast, fitting music, and effectual suspense make it a decent movie to watch.
WICKED RATING: 6.5/10
Title: A Walk among the Tombstones
Director: Scott Frank
Writer(s): Scott Frank, Lawrence Block
Stars: Liam Neeson, Dan Stevens, David Harbour
Studio/ Production Co: 1984 Private Defense Contractors, Cross Creek Pictures, Da Vinci Media Ventures
Budget: $28,000,000 (estimated)
Sub-Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery