SAFE HANDS: Liam Neeson's powerful performance is A Walk Among The Tombstone's main draw.

Film review: A Walk Among The Tombstones (15)

A Walk Among The Tombstones (15) review

Liam Neeson seems to live in a genre of his own these days – and it’s never a good idea to be a bad guy in any of his movies.

That’s right, A Walk Among The Tombstones is the latest film to task the bad-ass Neeson (Taken) with hunting down sub-human scum.

Based on Lawrence Block’s novel of the same name and adapted for the screen by Scott Frank, Tombstones is a crime thriller that I’ve personally been looking forward to for a little while now.

Neeson plays ex-NYPD cop Matthew Scudder, who works as an unlicensed private investigator after leaving the force under a sizeable cloud.

After reluctantly agreeing to take on a case from drug trafficker Kenny Kristo (Dan Stevens), Scudder is tasked with finding the men who savagely murdered his wife.

However, it soon becomes apparent that he’s looking into a much darker story, with the men he’s chasing having committed similar crimes in the past.

They’re also intent on striking again, putting Scudder right in the middle of a very dangerous game.

As touched upon earlier, this almost sounds like a script for Taken 3. But Neeson’s character isn’t the all action hitman we’ve come to expect. He’s a recovering alcoholic and doesn’t really seem to have much to live for, while also being much less physically able than has become the norm.

Scudder is actually more of a sleuth – and he seeks the help of homeless (but tech-savvy) teenager TJ (Brian “Astro” Bradley) as he bids to locate his targets.

It’s worth noting that the film is set back in 1999, so him being a bit of a technophobe isn’t really as surprising as you’re probably thinking.

On the other side of the coin, villains David Harbour and Adam David Thompson really will make your stomach churn. The things they do to their victims really are pretty morbid, with the level of violence suggested off screen taking things to the next level of revolting.

I’m led to believe that the Tombstones book depicts even higher levels of violence, so I presume director Frank toned down the more graphic scenes to make the 15 certificate.

Saying that, Tombstones is probably more of a thinking man’s film than it’ll get credit for – and for the most part I was fully invested in its pretty intense story.

The biggest negative I can offer is that the preview trailer I saw for the film almost gave too much away. I already knew what was essentially going to happen in two of the film’s biggest moments, having already seen them on the extended trailer.

It’s a shame really, as going into those two moments unaware would probably have improved the overall experience.

Neeson’s powerhouse performance is the star turn, which I suppose was to be expected from a man that rarely gets it wrong.

As a big fan of the True Detective TV series, Tombstones felt like a spin off from the HBO show – which is the highest praise I can offer.

Rating: 3.5/5 (watched at West End Cinema, Boston)

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