A Walk Among The Tombstones is the latest Liam Neeson crime film which follows the story of Matt Scudder who is hired by a drug dealer to find out who kidnapped and murdered his wife. A Walk Among The Tombstones is directed by Scott Frank who has only one other feature film called The Lookout (2007) but many might of seen The Wolverine (2013) which he wrote the screenplay for.
As far as the plot of this film goes, I quite enjoyed it. I am however a fan of Liam Neeson films and in recent years have enjoyed almost all of them, however I did find A Walk Among The Tombstones to be far more gritty when compared to recent films such as Non-Stop (2014). This film has similar themes to something like Taken (2008) but is much more violent and maybe more towards a thriller/mystery type of film rather than straight out action experience that you would get from Taken is. But I liked how A Walk Among The Tombstones told its story and really enjoyed this film.
We follow Matt Scudder (Liam Neeson) who is a retired policeman that is hired by this drug dealer named Danny Ortiz (Maurice Compte) who needs him to help him find out who kidnapped and killed his wife. The reason that this dealer comes to Matt Scudder for help and not the actual police is that well…. he can’t really use the police because he’s a criminal, so Scudder is really his only option.
A Walk Among The Tombstones spends a lot of time where we will watch Scudder investigate and find clues to the kidnapping as he uncovers what is going on. One significant advantage of this film is that some of the villains are presented as complete maniacs and David Harbour who played Ray is probably ones of the best maniacs I’ve seen on film this year.
When watching A Walk Among The Tombstones in the cinema I felt that Scott Frank who directed the film captured a great level of tension with just the right kind of tone for the film. The action scenes while few, had quite a dramatic impact because there was a large build up towards them and I found myself quite invested in the Scudder character. I felt that the scenes with the maniacs Scudder was trying to capture, where we watch them commit their crimes were quite strong and some people I think may not enjoy this film as much because of them. However I have been watching a few films lately similar to this and in this genre and I enjoyed them quite a lot, so it just depends what type of violence level you can handle. It is more confronting I think in comparison to Liam Neeson’s previous films so some people might not enjoy it as much. But not me though. I felt that having these scenes with maniacs such as Ray (David Harbour) added to the tension and danger which is needed for a climax that carries an impact.
While I thoroughly enjoyed the films tone and its balance between the hero and the villains. I did find some of the side characters to be a bit annoying. There’s this kid TJ (Astro) that Scudder (Liam Neeson) keeps chatting to and helping out throughout the film. While he’s not a bad actor I sort of couldn’t really stand him, he just seemed like a pointless distraction from the main plot which was capturing the murderers. This is really the only part of the film I didn’t like so much, because kids in these films always get in the way or do stupid stuff and I just sit there, like why bring this kid a long for?
I did however feel that TJ the kid did add to helping develop the character of Matt Scudder. While many thriller’s or films like these don’t really delve into a characters past, A Walk Among The Tombstones does make several attempts to ensure that we know who Matt Scudder is by the end of the run time. I felt that they did well with this main character, while everyone else was sort of just there to further the plot along. The villains aren’t developed as much but they are scary to watch, it’s not often you get a maniac character on screen and David Harbour who some may know as Elliot Hirsche from The Newsroom was great at it. David Harbour played such an unemotional hard to judge murdering character which against Liam Neeson’s tough guy persona made a great mix I thought.
Overall I felt that I was more than entertained with the gritty crime thriller that was A Walk Among The Tombstones. While more violent and sometimes more scary than I expected which may be too much for some people, I felt it was just right. It’s not an action film so don’t expect constant fight scenes/gun fights. It’s more of a mystery with a bit of action when needed. But it’s a great thriller with a great performance from David Harbour as the maniac Ray and Liam Neeson delivers an entertaining and very likable performance as Matt Scudder.