Movie Review: A Walk Among The Tombstones.
Directed By: Scott Frank.
Starring: Liam Neeson, Dan Stevens, David Harbour and Astro.
Private investigator Matthew Scudder is hired by a drug kingpin to find out who kidnapped and murdered his wife.
"A Walk Among The Tombstones" is yet another film where Liam Neeson gets to be the smartest and toughest guy in the room, but this isn't Taken or Non-Stop, this movie is actually very different to how you might imagine it to be.
Matthew Scudder decided to quit the police force after one tragic day on the job, we find out why over the course of the film and it helps us understand the character of Scudder a little more. He now works as an unlicensed private investigator, he is hired by people for a job and in return they give him "gifts" (money).
"A Walk Among The Tombstones" features many things we've seen in Liam Neeson movies before; the intimidating phone call, the recovering alcoholism and of course the particular set of skills but this film is less of an action movie and more of a thriller.
To my surprise this was a very stylish and at times clever thriller set in 90's New York, a grimy and frightening setting that was perfect for the story.
Director Scott Frank gives us small glimpses of the terror that the two psychopaths do to their victims without ever being gratuitous.
The two murderers themselves are incredibly creepy individuals who perform these horrific acts purely for the ransom money and even before they get the money, the victim is usually killed.
Dan Stevens who was recently seen as David in The Guest plays a drug kingpin who hires Scudder to find the men who killed his wife so that he may kill them himself. Dan Stevens has now given two terrific performances this month alone, his days on Downton Abbey are far behind him.
Scudder returns to the scenes of the crimes and investigates from there, meeting several characters along the way. The biggest character being TJ (Astro), a homeless teenager who longs to become a detective just like Scudder.
I love the style in which the film was shot, it was very film noir, being set in the back alleys and small neighborhoods of New York city. This is a very bleak and dull world filled with interesting characters. The contrast between the quite bland setting and the strange characters worked incredibly well.
Neeson as always delivers and almost carries the film by himself by being in almost every scene. By now Neeson has perfected the tough as nails and world weary bad ass that we see so often now and his performance here is no different, whilst this character feels quite different to ones he's played before, the similarities are noticeable. Neeson completely transformed his career with Taken and I am still loving the change, Neeson is better in these roles than most. Not all of his recent films have had the best material for him to work with but the story here is simple but captivating the dialogue is frankly chilling at times and Neeson performs every scene flawlessly.
"A Walk Among The Tombstones" spends a lot more time on the investigation rather than the action, and whilst action is present, the unraveling of the investigation is the films main focus.
One thing that really stood out to me in the film was its sound design, when bullets flew, the audience knew it, it sounded like someone was firing off a pistol right next to me. The music, whilst not grand or memorable, added to the dark and dreary tone that the director was going for.
When going into this film, don't be expecting Taken or Non Stop, this is a slow burner. A film that slowly unravels as we learn more about the characters and story and featured only a few action scenes, for what the film is, its very well paced. I wasn't bored but I would understand if someone said they were because this isn't a fast paced action film that audiences have come to expect from Neeson.
"A Walk Among The Tombstones" didn't have me on the edge of my seat but it did have me invested from the get go and its one I recommend, I'm giving it a B!
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