Title – A Walk Among the Tombstones (2014)
Director – Scott Frank (The Lookout)
Cast – Liam Neeson, Brian “Astro” Bradley, Dan Stevens, Boyd Holbrook, David Harbour
Plot – P.I and ex-cop Matt Scudder (Neeson) finds himself doing a job for drug trafficker Kenny Kristo (Stevens) after Kenny’s wife was kidnapped and murdered by a mysterious gang. Matt’s investigation into what happened to Kenny’s wife will take him to the far reaching depths of mankind’s depravity and offers a hope for Matt to atone for past transgressions.
“I do favours for people and in return, they give me gifts. So what can I do for you”?
Review by Eddie on 24/02/2015
I for one am glad to say with much relief that A Walk Among the Tombstones, Scott Frank’s dark and almost humour free noire like detective tale is one of Liam Neeson’s more tolerable recent films that have stunk up multiplexes with the shoddy fair of Non-Stop, Unknown and the inexcusable Taken franchise. These films made you question just what had become of Rob Roy and his seemingly insatiable appetite to be a part of any thriller/action adventure that waved a check in his face so it’s nice to feel like Neeson is trying here in something that feels original if not overly memorable.
Based on one of Lawrence Block’s extensive crime novels focused on ex-detective turned investigator for hire Matt Scudder, Tombstones is an incredibly dark and foreboding tale that is similar to tone to bleak films like Fincher’s Seven and Zodiac and there is enough dark material here to suggest that some viewers may be alienated by some confronting suggestions that are quite dark for a high profile thriller such as this and where a Gone Girl might break up the material with some extremely dark comedic musings, Tombstones starts solemn and ends there without a second of respite. This bleakness works for Tombstones however as it creates a uniquely set darkness that is only highlighted by the fact that Scudder has no qualms about working for drug traffickers or such like criminals and therefore isn’t the typical anti-hero working for the good natured citizen nature of many such similar tales.
This narrative heart that drives Tombstone’s is also is major weakness however, as when the story unfolds we start to realise that much of this gritty rawness that lays at the crux of Matt’s journey starts to unravel into something that feels to far from reality, situations begin to become more and more questionable. Whether it’s Matt’s dealings with street kid TJ (played well by child actor “Astro”), encounters with Olafur Darri Olafsson’s creepy graveyard groundskeeper Jonas or a misguided shootout, Tombstones seems to be tripping over itself every chance it gets when there was perhaps room to build a more downtrodden and less farfetched story that seemed tailor built for a place in the real world.
It’s easy to forget just what a presence Liam Neeson can be on screen, before this venture the last time he was truly memorable was in the fantastic The Grey all the way back in 2011, so A Walk Among the Tombstones is a refreshing reminder of his talents in what is an intriguing and finely crafted thriller that has moments of brilliance and sadly utter infuriation. Tombstone’s is a mid-tier movie no doubt, but for fans of bleak detective tales that aren’t afraid too offer little hope and for fans of evil incarnate villains, there is much to enjoy in this little slice of darkness.
3 pigeon coops out of 5