First things first, the time gap. I apologize to my readers who got used to me releasing reviews a few times a week. I haven’t written a review for a few weeks and the reasoning is quite simple: nothing has released. So instead of punishing myself by watching movies I have absolutely no interest in, I took a bit of a break from the cinema and opted for working through a few television series, a novel, and basically just some personal things. Now it seems the movie season may be picking up again, so with that in mind, let’s talk about the new Liam Neeson flick.
Being the second action movie of 2014 to star Liam Neeson, A Walk Among the Tombstones serves as a calmer and quieter experience than Non-Stop. Non-Stop was a fun experience in the realm of Neeson’s signature modern adventures like Taken. I really enjoyed that film and I think it is one of the most enjoyable movies of the year, even if the third act goes into overly political territory. The best advice I can give you before you go into A Walk Among the Tombstones, however, is this: don’t expect another Non-Stop. Don’t expect Taken. In fact, don’t even expect The Grey. This isn’t like the previous ones in which Neeson is a virtually indestructible machine of frenetic proportions. No, this is a slow burn of a movie, one that has few action sequences and much dialogue, but fortunately, for us, it’s worthy entertainment.
Based on the novel by Lawrence Block, A Walk Among the Tombstones is Hollywood’s first attempt at adapting his series of books to the big screen. Liam Neeson plays Matthew Scudder, a private investigator and retired cop living in New York City who is hired by a drug dealer to find his wife’s mysterious killers. On paper, it’s contrived and worn out. We’ve seen this sort of thing before, many times. And while watching the movie, it does have the feel of repetitiveness, but it’s not necessarily a negative.
The main reason the majority of the audience will see this movie is because of Liam Neeson. He’s an action star right now, and before long he will be on the list of icons that contains Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger. But this movie isn’t as action packed as one would expect, or hope. It’s slow, very dark, and very violent, and not in the fun sort of way. Despite its slowness, I never once looked at the clock because the dialogue was always interesting enough.
Special props go to Bryan “Astro” Bradley who plays TJ, a young boy shadowing Scudder and trying his hardest to be a detective like him. His interplay with Neeson was really something to watch. That, plus Neeson’s performance, the sharp direction, and the tense script make this movie well worth the time, even if nothing really special or different happens by the end.
A Walk Among the Tombstones (2014) 114 mins Rated R for strong violence, disturbing images, language, and brief nudity Cast: Liam Neeson,David Harbour, Dan Stevens Writer: Scott Frank Director: Scott Frank
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