MOVIE REVIEW: “A Walk Among The Tombstones” Gazes Into the Abyss
Based on the novel by Lawrence Block
Distributed by Solar Pictures
Starring Liam Neeson, Brian “Astro” Bradley, Boyd Holbrook, Dan Stevens, Sebastian Roché, Whitney Able, Stephanie Andujar, Ólafur Darri Ólafsson, David Harbour, Eric Nelsen
Directed by Scott Frank
Philippine Release Date: September 19, 2014
Total running time: 113 minutes
MTRCB Rating: R-13
Honestly, it doesn’t take a novel or a film to make you realize that humanity is capable of some truly horrific things. A Walk Among the Tombstones, however, serves as a disturbing – and compelling, much like how morbid curiosity prevents you from looking away from a bloody accident – reminder, just in case we ever forget.
Set in the somewhat technophobic world of 1999, A Walk Among the Tombstones centers on Matthew Scudder (Liam Neeson), a private investigator working outside the law due to unfortunate events brought about by alcoholism. As Scudder struggles with sobriety and the painful secrets he carries with him every day of his life, he is called back into action due to a gruesome case that throws him right in the middle of a brutal kidnapping spree perpetrated by cold-hearted murderers operating from the shadows.
Coming closer and closer to the heart of the mystery, Scudder resolves to find these criminals and bring them to justice, while doing his best to fight the urge to abandon his own humanity and send them a message in a violent and bloodthirsty language they would certainly understand.
Make no mistake: In this film, there is no white, as far as morality is concerned; there are only black and varying shades of gray. Not even the protagonist is a clear-cut good guy – fighting the demons of his past, Neeson’s Scudder is a tortured soul, forever trying to make amends for a sin he can never fully make up for. In a world of drug dealers, users, murderers, and alcoholics, it’s hard to find a character to fully empathize with in A Walk Among the Tombstones, save perhaps for TJ (Brian “Astro” Bradley). The mystery of the murderers’ identities also runs for a good portion of the film, making things quite interesting and exciting, at least up to the middle.
Sadly, A Walk Among the Tombstones does not leave much of an impression after the credits roll. It’s an R-13 look at the depths people are willing to sink to, but that doesn’t make the film particularly unique or memorable. Combine that with a rather anticlimactic ending, and you’ll probably feel that going for A Walk Among the Tombstones has left you cold.
Still, A Walk Among the Tombstones is worth recommending to fans of (a) Liam Neeson, (b) entertaining suspense thrillers, or (c) murder mysteries, as well as people who really want to watch a movie, but are sick of Battle Royale clones* or can’t wait long enough for Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends** on Wednesday.
Watch the trailer for A Walk Among the Tombstones:
A warm “Thank you” goes out to the fine folks at Solar Pictures for the special screening of A Walk Among the Tombstones!
** Here’s a spoiler-free review of Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends by my good friend Ronin, and here’s an article we co-wrote about significant deviations from established RK continuity in the previous installment, Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno.