Director: Scott Frank
Cast: Liam Neeson, Dan Stevens, Boyd Holbrook, David Harbour
Running Time: 113 Minutes
Synopsis: Private investigator Matthew Scudder is hired by a drug kingpin to find out who kidnapped and murdered his wife
If waiting until January 2015 for the next instalment of Liam Neeson putting the world to rights in TAKEN 3 seems like a wait you just can’t handle, A WALK AMONG THE TOMBSTONES could just be the intermediary tonic you need.
This is director Scott Frank’s second foray as the main man behind the camera following 2007’s THE LOOKOUT, his main experience lies in screenwriting. Interestingly, Frank also wrote the screenplay for A WALK AMONG THE TOMBSTONES, which is one possible explanation for the timer being allowed to hit the 113 minute mark when a 90 minute non-stop action thriller may have suited the storyline better.
Matt Scudder (Neeson) is an unlicensed private detective who, having given up his police badge many years previously, helps hunt down bad guys for money. Enter Kenny Kristo (Dan Stevens) whose wife has been kidnapped and held for ransom. Kristo paid up and the baddies went ahead and killed his wife anyway so it’s up to Scudder to hunt them down and seek revenge. When they strike again, kidnapping a young girl, the mission becomes a race-against-time to not just avenge a life, but save one.
A WALK AMONG THE TOMBSTONES has several interesting storyline facets that are left criminally under-used and which, if further explored, may have added value. Boyd Holbrook, as Kristo’s drug-addicted brother, is featured often on the out-skirts of scenes, but only briefly given any dominant character-driven screen time, and the semi-explanation as to the villains’ behaviour feels like a hastily put together post-script. David Harbour, as one half of the evil duo, seems to be lacking the dark side required to play his villain – resulting in a slightly unusual bad guy who seems to be in a constant state of smirking. It’s not a complete disaster, and may be in fact be an intentional character trait – but the movies’ tone can never be completely dark and depraved as a result of not being able to take the main villain too seriously.
Liam Neeson and Dan Stevens put in excellent performances that are both gritty and believable. Neeson is a stalwart of the genre and still at the top of his game; you couldn’t pick a better actor to play the former policeman with a heavy chip on his shoulder. Dan Stevens, most notably known for his role in Downton Abbey, recently impressed in Adam Wingard’s thriller THE GUEST and pulls off a chilling-yet-likeable husband who will win audiences over.
A poor final act lets down an otherwise intriguing tale which houses enough turns to ultimately entertain.
[usr=3] A WALK AMONG THE TOMBSTONES is released in UK cinemas on Friday 19th September