Out of all the genres there are in a cinematic arsenal, one of the hardest ones to combine or get right is the combo of mystery and thriller. You usually only see these two attempted with scary movies or crime stories. With “A Walk Among the Tombstones,” we have a crime story that successfully achieved the combination. It’s also a bonus that it stars Liam Neeson.
Matt Scudder (Neeson) is a former New York policeman who spends his days working as an unlicensed private detective. When he is hired by a known trafficker of heroin to solve his wife’s kidnapping and murder, he is more than reluctant. However, when he learns of the savagery these men have committed against their victims, he can’t help but feel compelled to stop them. While blurring the lines between his own morals and the consequences of right and wrong, he must track them through the backstreets and alleyways of New York City before they kill again.
One of the first things you realize with this film is that it is Neeson’s movie all the way. The entire film is structured around his character. This is one of his best performances since he broke new ground with 2008’s action film, “Taken.” It says something when you are in your upper 60s and you can still deliver hard-hitting performances.
The supporting cast is filled with a mix of known supporting actors and new ones. One in particular that viewers may recognize is Dan Stevens, who played Matthew Crawley on BBC’s “Downton Abbey.” In this film, Stevens, just as the others did, played his part beautifully.
Director Scott Frank successfully transfers the story to the screen, and when dealing with an already known novel; this is not an easy task. The film reminded me so much of the classic crime thriller series, “Dirty Harry.”
Now, this is not to say Neeson was doing a Clint Eastwood impersonation, but to acknowledge the way the film was shot. The attention to detail the film brings to the city’s landmarks is fascinating.
The main problem I had with the film is that we never get a good reason for the depraved actions of this twisted duo other than the fact that they are unbalanced men.
Also, some of the supporting characters at times feel a little one-dimensional.
If you want to see an intriguing and dark crime thriller, “A Walk Among the Tombstones” is definitely your movie.
Story by John Gruccio, Contributing writer