A Walk Among the Tombstones

September 19, 20145 min

When it comes to movies, dark is the new light. It seems that studios nowadays like their main character a little rough around the edges. Not too long ago we liked our lead characters a little goody two shoes, the kind of guy who would walk an old lady across the street. Now we want that same guy to ignore the lady completely or maybe even give her a little push. I think the reason for this is we want these characters to be like us, flawed and not perfect.

In 1991 Matt Scudder (Liam Neeson) is just another cop who drinks too much. While sitting in a bar having a cocktail the there’s a robbery and the bartender does not make it, Scudder gives chase, killing two if the assailants, while wounding the third, but that night changes everything. Fast forward eight years later, Scudder is now a unlicensed investigator who does the kind of jobs that don’t get a lot of questions asked. When the young wife of Kenny Kristo (Dan Stevens) gets kidnapped and killed, Kenny seeks out Scudder to help find out who was behind the act. Kenny you see though is not one of those nine to fivers; no Kenny is what he calls a trafficker. Scudder takes the job and starts to put together the ‘what’ and ‘whys’ of the crime. He is aided by a homeless teen name T.J (Astro) who knows a thing or two about computers, but who has his own problems. Together they try to solve the puzzle before someone else dies.

Based on a book series written by Lawrence Block “A Walk Among the Tombstones” gives us the perfect anti-hero in Matt Scudder. This man isn’t out to right the wrongs in the world, he just lives his life making a living and doing whatever it takes. Not many people could bring this character to life, but one of the few is writer and director Scott Frank (Out of Sight), but even when a match looks perfect, sometimes things don’t work out like they should. The film paces itself, which really makes the first half of the film drag a little as things are being put together. As the story gets going, so does the action and the last forty-five minutes are a lot better. After being ‘Taken’ more than once, Neeson finds another role his set of skills fits perfectly into, and while he talks in short sentences for the first part of the movie, he gets some great dialogue in the final act. Frank’s movies always have a darker kind of feel to them and he does a good job with the material. The film has the same feel as last years very good “Prisoners”, but not on the same level, something that is not easy to achieve. While not a great film, “A Walk Among the Tombstones is good enough, which is good enough for me.


Brian Taylor

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