Movie Reviews

Dual Review: A Walk Among The Tombstones

a-walk-among-the-tombstones

Genre: Crime | Drama | Mystery | Thriller
Directed by: Scott Frank
Starring: Liam Neeson, Dan Stevens, David Harbour, Boyd Holbrook
Written by: Scott Frank

 

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Matt Scudder is a former cop now a private eye. He is asked by a drug dealer to find the men who kidnapped his wife. It seems like they killed her even after he paid them. Scudder refuses. But the man later goes to see him and tells him how his wife was killed. Scudder takes the job. He does some research and thinks the men he is looking for have done this more than once. And that everyone they grabbed is connected to a drug dealer. He was about to give up when they grab another girl and Scudder tries make sure she’s returned alive.

 Anthony’s Review

I finally saw A Walk Among the Tombstones on Blu ray. The film stars Liam Neeson, Boyd Holbrook, David Harbour and more in a gritty and exciting thriller/mystery flick. The gist of the mystery revolves around the disappearances of women who date drug dealers. Interesting, right? At first I thought the movie seemed a little cliche with the initial setup for the plot, but things began to pick up fairly quickly and changed my outlook on the film. It starts off with a woman being kidnapped and her well off, drug dealing, fiance (Harbour) desperately trying to seek help with the situation.  Now add Matt (Liam Neeson) Scudder, a  former police officer who is now an unlicensed private detective in order to help solve the mystery of the disappearance who operates more than a little outside of the law.

 


hero_AWalkAmongtheTombstones-2014-1Like I mentioned, A Walk Among the Tombstones dissolves the idea that this is a kidnapping story and reveals the actual plot fairly early into the film. This revelation may seem insignificant, as you read this review, but the shift is executed so well that it made me pay closer attention! The movie film no longer seemed “predictable” from that point forward and it made me pay much closer attention. I was immersed I’ve enjoyed it. I like seeing Liam Neeson breathe life into this character and breathe life into this world and seeing how everybody in a racket it’s always moody it’s always dark it’s always foreboding. They definitely talk a tone that I didn’t initially anticipated but I definitely enjoy because I was sucked into this world and really wanted to see how this would be completely resolved.

 

This movie is perpetually dark and the movie manages to make you feel uneasy from beginning to end. The tone is forced but to great success and helps A Walk Among the Tombstones  make itself seem rather unpredictable from a story stand point. Neeson’s Matt Scudder feels like a character from a 50’s noir rather than someone living in the 21st century since he doesn’t own a cell phone, he doesn’t use the internet, and tends to do things “the old fashioned way” like reading old newspapers at the library. I couldn’t help but feel that A Walk Among The Tombstones drew some inspiration from the Indiana Jones franchise as Neeson seemed very similar to Jones and the film even paired Scudder with a little scrappy young sidekick who is a know-it-all attitude with a better understanding of today’s technology.

 

A-Walk-Among-The-Tombstones-David-Harbour-Wallpaper

 

The antagonist of the film were always intimidating. These two guys channel a lot of that creepy vibe that you would probably see from television’s Hannibal or Dexter and you get a real sense that these guys are very dangerous no matter how their parents maybe. The movie does have a few twists and turns that made me on shore where they were going with insane and I was really on the edge of my seat for a lot of this film. The pacing of the film is slow at times, and there was certainly more than one time where I felt that they could have moved things a bit faster, however the movie doesn’t let you completely lose interest in any one scene and recovers. A lot of the crawl-pacing was intended to supplement the tone of the movie but it’s just not always executed well leaving you wondering when it would just “hurry up”.

 

do feel like Neeson has fallen into a form of typecasting in which he often portrays a character with a particular set of skills.  Neeson does well to distinguish the two but I can imagine more than a few people made the assumption that they would be identical.  I think that this is going to be one of those movies that will grow in popularity as its absorbed by the home market through word of mouth, similar to his movie “The Grey”, and overall this is a very well-written film.

 

I Give A Walk Among The Tombstones a 7 out of 10

It’s available on Blu-Ray, VOD now!

 

 


Jim’s Review

Liam Neeson is back to taking names and catching bad guys in A Walk Among the Tombstones, available everywhere on Blu-ray and DVD. It’s not quite Taken, but also not too different from it. The film is based on a series of novels by Lawrence Block.

 

Neeson stars as private eye Matt Scudder. A former cop that put down his badge after a accidentally killing an innocent bystander. Scudder is living his life in regret, and attempting to leave his past behind. Things change when he comes across  Kenny Kristo (Dan Stevens), a drug dealer that asks him to find his kidnapped wife. It doesn’t take long for him to find the whereabouts of the missing wife, it’s the identity of the kidnappers what sets him on a wild ride. Scudder enters a web of mystery and crime as he encounters various people linked with the culprits. Along the way he befriends a homeless kid named TJ (Astro), that at various points ends up assisting him on his mission to find the bad guys.

 

Neeson doing his thing

Neeson doing his thing

 

Neeson has established himself as the king of the crime action genre. He is a more well-rounded version of Brian Mills from the Taken series. Neeson is very imposing and brooding, it’s almost turned into a gimmick of his, yet it’s very effective for the roles he plays. Astro, who plays the young TJ, adds another dimension to the story. Instead of a somber and dark aura, he adds some life to a rather lifeless world. David Harbour plays Ray, a very creepy and twisted individual. He makes you cringe whenever his character appears on-screen. It’s characters like Ray that really scare you, because he plays an individual you might run across in your everyday life.  Director and writer Scott Frank does an excellent job displaying the world that these characters are a part of. Shot in the gloomy, dark, and intimidating parts of New York City, the location is a character in itself. The setting of the film gives you a great idea why these characters are removed from the outside world.

 

There are two Blu-ray and DVD features included. A Look Behind the Tombstones is a 12 minute feature with Liam Neeson talking about what appealed to him about the role, also the production team discusses why Liam was the perfect person to play Matt Scudder. The topics of conversation was the script and using New York City as setting for the movie. It’s a neat inside look at the movie, and how it came about. Matt Scudder: Private Eye is a Blu-ray exclusive that’s 6 plus minutes featuring Lawrence Block, the author of the novels which the movie is based on, talking about the character and the film. Director and writer Scott Frank, Liam Neeson, and the film producers provide commentary about turning the novel to a film.

 

A Walk Among the Tombstones is a throwback crime drama, sort of reminiscent to some of the Charles Bronson movies. It’s Liam Neeson’s more subtle attempt at his Taken character. Fans of Neeson and the Taken series will enjoy this film. The film develops at a slower pace, though not to the detriment of the film. This is the sort of film that might leave some people a bit disturbed by the reveals that occur. Although the DVD offers a limited amount of extra content, the content included is interesting. This is a movie any Liam Neeson fan should own.

 

A Walk Among the Tombstones – 8 out of 10! 

An enjoyable film that might leave you feeling queazy  

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