Private investigator Matthew Scudder is hired by a drug kingpin to find out who kidnapped and murdered his wife.
‘A Walk Among The Tombstones’ could be mistaken for another Liam Neeson action vehicle, in the vein of ‘Taken’ and the numerous knock offs that have followed in its footsteps, but this is more of an old school crime thriller. We are introduced to Matthew Scudder (Neeson), an NYPD officer, as he gets unexpectedly caught up in an armed robbery with devastating consequences, before fast forwarding 8 years into the future. The trauma of the initial event led to Scudder resigning and taking up a new career as an unlicensed PI, with all the clichéd detective trappings (alcoholic, divorced, filled with rage), but Neeson’s performance keeps him interesting.
The film kicks off when Scudder takes up the case of a man (Downton Abbey’s Dan Stevens) looking to locate his wife’s killers, after he’d paid a ransom to free her in vain. The film follows his investigations as he discovers there’s more to the case than first meets the eye. Whilst the film is an enjoyable enough thriller, with Neeson leading the cast well, it suffers from two main problems. Firstly, it struggles to do anything interesting with its story or characters in an environment that is saturated with ‘damaged men solving crime’ movies, and secondly, it introduces a supporting character (a teenager called TJ) who feels out of place and purely there for a bit of light relief.
The story plays out interestingly enough, albeit the conclusion is a little messy, and Neeson remains a solid screen presence, but overall this remains a by the numbers crime film.
Directed By: Scott Frank
Starring: Liam Neeson, Dan Stevens, Boyd Holbrook, Sebastian Roche, David Harbour, Olafur Darri Olafsson and Brian ‘Astro’ Bradley