A Walk Among The Tombstones English Movie Review

Feature Film | A | Action, Crime, Mystery
Good enough to hold your attention for brief periods, but Neeson's nice guy antics can't make up for a weak screenplay.
Sep 19, 2014 By Troy Ribeiro

Liam Neeson is a really nice, selfless guy. He's always globetrotting trying to save his wife or daughter, or someone else's wife or daughter, or his gardener or the next door neighbor's dog or the local exorcist or even a paper bag that has flown off in the wind. I mean, you wouldn't want to be seen getting friendly with his daughter, but he's a really nice guy apart from that.

In this film, Liam Neeson plays Liam Neeson, who plays Matthew Scudder - an ex-cop/currently unlicensed private detective. He is, just like Neeson, a very nice guy. He admits to bring corrupt during his days as a cop, but he gets this statement out of the way as quickly as possible, almost afraid that you'll hear him. He is then approached by a drug trafficker (Dan Stevens), whose wife had turned up hacked into pieces by her kidnappers/killers, even after he had paid them. He wants Scudder to find them and bring them to justice.

See, this is a dilemma for Neeson, because the guy is a drug trafficker. But the nice guy that he is, he takes the case, which leads him into the world of drug dealers, and well, killers. Also, in another exhibition of his niceness, he takes on a homeless kid as his detective apprentice, whose only other interest is drawing a superhero with a sickle for a logo.

The film itself is a bit of a frustrating experience, in that it never manages to get going. Yes, the setup is intriguing, the main character is a nice guy, and there are more attempts at twists than there are potholes on our roads. There are times when you find yourself leaning forward in your seat, a few times out of genuine interest and the other times to tell the guy sitting in front of you to switch off his cellphone's screen. But there are instances when you find yourself sighing audibly, such as when the plot is just pandering to allow Neeson to trash talk with the murderers.

To be fair, the trash talk is kinda delicious. The conversations between Neeson and one of the killers (David Harbour) make for genuinely powerful scenes. The other killer is mostly the quiet type; he'd rather chop his victims into pieces. But none of the other characters or relationships really jump out at you, though the actors are not to blame. The performances by Neeson, Dan Stevens and David Harbour stand out from the rest.

The film is adapted from the novel of the same name, one of 17 novels to feature detective Matthew Scudder. Any kind of box office success (which is almost guaranteed for a Liam Neeson nice-guy outing) would ensure sequel(s), which might not necessarily be a bad thing. A better script, and things could get really interesting. Till then, you could decide to take a walk through some of the better films in Neeson's filmography.

Troy Ribeiro