AWATTDirector: Scott Frank

Cast: Liam Neeson, Brian Bradley, Dan Stevens, Boyd Holbrook, David Harbour, Adam David Thompson

Certificate: 15

Running Time: 113 Minutes

A WALK AMONG THE TOMBSTONES is an imaginative crime-thriller that manages to use the base line of the generic tale but uniquely resuscitate it at the same time. Adapted from the novels of Lawrence Block, director and screenwriter Scott Frank has brought to life recovering alcoholic Matthew Scudder, who’s a self-made Private Eye on the case to help a drug kingpin find out who kidnapped and murdered his wife.

What’s refreshing about this tale is the style and pace that befits the characters perfectly. Whereas usually you can pick up on the stereotypes of each individual role, A WALK AMONG THE TOMBSTONES gives us a thought-provoking look into this murky world as everyone involved has something worth saying or a reason for their actions.

Interestingly, the characteristics initially gave me a film-noir, pulp novel vibe and so when we stumble across early mentions for Sam Spade and Philip Marlow, the wonderful old movie ambiance truly comes to life. Don’t take that too literally though because this isn’t just about the talk, there’s some absolute nasty goings-on when it comes to the villains and consequential twisted revelations.

Liam Neeson is beautifully cast as D.I. Matt Scudder, who reeks with the pain of the past and is eager to do something different but not exactly in the ways you’d usually expect. It seems Neeson was born to take on this style of role as he’s enormously watchable and central to everything as always. There are also effective co-starring roles for David Harbour, Adam David Thompson and Dan Stevens but our stand-out performance goes to young Brian ‘Astro’ Bradley, who gives a sterling performance as Scudder’s street-wise and self-taught TJ, who’s both learning and is an imperative and intelligent part of the story.

If you like your characters to have an extra layer with something a little deeper and darker than both GET SHORTY and OUT OF SIGHT from Scott Frank’s back catalogue, then you’ll find a lot to like in this retro-mood, crime thriller with an ex-cop just trying to find some redemption.

[usr=3] A WALK AMONG THE TOMBSTONES is released on Blu-ray and DVD on 19th January.