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A WALK AMONG THE TOMBSTONES (review)

Review by Benn Robbins
Produced by Danny DeVito, Michael Shamberg, 
Stacey Sher, Tobin Armbrust, Brian Oliver< BH

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Based on A Walk Among the Tombstones by Lawrence Block
Adapted Screenplay and Directed by Scott Frank
Starring Liam Neeson, Dan Stevens, 
Boyd Holbrook, Sebastian Roché

I am a sucker for Liam Neeson.

Ever since, Darkman, Liam Neeson can do no wrong. Whether it be comedy (High Spirits), historical drama (Michael Collins, Rob Roy), Romantic comedy (Love Actually), Sci Fi (Phantom Menace), and especially action thrillers (Taken, The Gray, Non-Stop). Neeson could be reading the phonebook on screen with a head cold and I am there.

That being said, A Walk Among The Tombstones was not a well made film.

Based on the mystery/thriller novel series of the same name, writer director, Scott Frank, comes up short… or should I say waaay too long.

Never knowing what it wanted to be, A Walk Among The Tombstones, starts off as cool action film with a brain, then turns into a cheesy Silence of the Lambs rip off and then a wanna be Man On Fire, then a glorified CSI episode.

The set ups took too long, the pay offs were few and far between and it looks like what should have been suspenseful build up turned into meandering long periods of nothing that couldn’t have been done in a lot less time. The few moments of “holy crap” and “Oh damn!” were so few and far between that, at points, I forgot what the movie was actually about.

At points the cinematography was stunning and evocative. I loved the use of close ups and shallow focus to disorient the viewer as to what was happening but it wasn’t enough visually to keep me interested.

The premise was slightly interesting, Ex-NYPD turned unlicensed PI is hired by a drug lord to find the men who kidnapped and killed his wife. When they strike again it is a race against time for Scudder (Neeson) to find and kill the perps. Pretty straight forward. And I think that is my problem. The film is so cut and dry that the writer/director, Frank, feels the need to make it overly mysterious and sinister. Had he just handled it more like a film such as Fargo or like Gone, Baby Gone, he would have had a better film. Less is more and more is sometimes too much.

Also, The film, and I am assuming the book, took place in the early to late 90’s and they really felt the need to beat you over the head with it, much like in real life when the new millennium was nigh. Y2K was a thing to fear! There was so much Y2K crap in this film it gave me PTSDs.

A Walk Among The Tombstones should have been a riveting suspense thriller in the vein of Silence of the Lambs or Gone, Baby, Gone but falls short on many levels. The one thing it has going for it was stellar acting from it’s entire cast. In a way they save this film from being pure dreck and a throw away summer failure.

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