Review – A Walk Among the Tombstones

Poster for 2014 crime thriller A Walk Among the Tombstones

Genre: Thriller
Certificate: 15
UK Release Date: 19th September 2014
Runtime: 114 minutes
Director: Scott Frank
Writer: Scott Frank
Starring: Liam Neeson, Dan Stevens, Brian "Astro" Bradley, David Harbour, Adam David Thompson
Synopsis: An unlicensed private detective teams up with a precocious youngster to tackle a team of serial killers who are targeting the families of drug dealers.

 

 

The last few years have seen Liam Neeson emerge as a new action hero in the vein of Stallone, Schwarzenegger and, more recently, Stallone. With films such as Taken and Non-Stop, Neeson has cemented himself as a future genre icon. It’s a shame, then, that A Walk Among the Tombstones completely forgets about everything that has earned Neeson plaudits.

Matthew Scudder (Neeson) is an unlicensed private detective. He is hired by a drug dealer (Dan Stevens) to find the men responsible for the kidnap and murder of his wife. One day, when researching the case in a local library, he seeks the help of teenage know-it-all TJ (Brian “Astro” Bradley) as he aims to crack the case.

A Walk Among the Tombstones is the antithesis of many of Liam Neeson’s recent movies. It replaces the wit and absurdity audiences have grown to love with a dour tone and a truly glacial pace. For huge swathes of the film, nothing happens at all, with the gaps being plugged by scowling facial expressions or brown-grey shots of cityscapes.

| "People are scared of all the wrong things."

Neeson’s performance is just as dour and depressing as the film itself. Without the running and shooting that fills most of his roles, he is left with a toothless character without an ounce of charisma. He is at his best when allowed to let loose and have fun, but A Walk Among the Tombstones does not provide him with that opportunity.

A Walk Among the Tombstones also features the horrendously annoying trope of the child sidekick, in the shape of Earth to Echo star and professional irritant Brian “Astro” Bradley.

Even when the film does hobble into its third act shootout, it fails to intrigue in any way. Its nastiness never pays off with anything worthwhile and it manages to make all of the muzzle flash and splintered wood incredibly dull. The story also never turns anywhere interesting, continuing to follow the same boring path from start to finish.

| "I can’t let you leave. They’ll kill me if I do."

It’s a real shame that A Walk Among the Tombstones never actually goes anywhere because Liam Neeson is capable of so much better. Here, he is saddled with a boring character locked in a boring story. The result, unsurprisingly, is an incredibly boring film.

 

Pop or Poop?

Rating: Poop!

Lacking in any sort of flair and carrying an extra half an hour of unnecessary weight, A Walk Among the Tombstones is an almost aggressively bland Liam Neeson vehicle.

The performances are pitiful and Scott Frank fails to inject any real energy into the film. It’s a plodding, pedestrian movie with nothing at its heart.

 

Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments section.

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