Thursday, September 25, 2014

[Review] A Walk Among the Tombstones

The intriguingly titled A Walk Among the Tombstones arrives just in time amidst the brisk autumn winds and grey overcast. Neeson finds himself in a very Neesian role, but it's gritter and more grounded than say, this year's airplane (and surprisingly entertaining) conundrum Non-Stop.

In the opening sequence, the tone is set abruptly when we see an unkempt, world-weary Matthew Scudder (Neeson) sitting in a dingy bar that looks similar to the one from this month's The Drop. A group of criminals storm in and fire a number of shots. Scudder reacts by hunting all of them down after they flee the joint. But of course, there's more to this part of the story that gets revealed later on.

Flash forward eight years later and we see Scudder, clean-shaven and sober. He's finished working for the NYPD, and now he's an unlicensed private investigator. He's hired by a high-ranking drug trafficker (Dan Stevens) to track down his wife's murderers. It's a fairly straightforward premise, and the narrative's few twists are less-so twists and more-so hiccups and revelations.

Moving at a True Detective-like pace, the first half involves a lot of asking around, gathering information, and flashbacks. The second half intensifies as Scudder obtains leads and finally initiates contact with the group of brutal and perverted killers. Suspense and anticipation runs high as we wonder how all this transpires. Perfectly eerie music fills the background, and death looms over everyone in the film. A showdown in an actual graveyard completely pays off the title.

While the supporting characters aren't that interesting (and some of the cast members are less than stellar), and the film doesn't quite offer up anything new or particularly outstanding, A Walk Among the Tombstones is a solid enough crime drama and Neeson's haunting presence gives it a chilling edge.


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