Liam Neeson, astute gentleman, legendary Jedi, and assassin who can hunt anyone down who takes his family. Yet Hollywood seems to focus on the latter, not deviating from the stoic man who can rip armies of murderers asunder and come out swinging. This weekend, yet another story is told about our leading action actor, entitled A Walk Among The Tombstones. Seeing the trailers earlier this summer, I got chills at the darkness and mystery the tale promised. If you know me by now though, there is always the skepticism of being let down by the actual film. What does this movie have in store? Read on to uncover the details.
We know that Liam Neeson can act the part of the sullen, rogue agent who defies all the rules and limits other cops seem to have. Once again, he is back still able to bring the smolder filled face of justice to the dark underbelly of whatever setting he’s in. This film though goes one stop further down the dark hole, having Neeson dive into the darker pits of his soul to face the internal and external demons. He pulls it off flawlessly, almost as if he faces the very challenges in real life. Helping to support Mr. Neeson, is a variety of people, though we will only focus on a few others to spare room for other aspects. Providing comedic relief, and an outlet from his character’s darkness is Astro, who has had a growth spurt since Echo. Astro has got a mouth, and thinks he is tough kid who knows the way of the world, yet gets a lesson about just how little he knows. He’s funny, he’s cocky, and Astro pulls off the immature role to the letter. Yet it’s the two killers of Ray (David Harbour) and Albert (Adam David Thompson) who really mix well with Liam. Harbour’s ability to play the insane serial killer is quite well executed in his delivery of threats and the tone of his voice. As for Thompson, he captures the menacing glare down pat, and knows some stage combat, but aside from that not much in store.
I’m sure you’re saying though, I don’t really care about the acting. How is the story? Well in a one word summary it is dark. It is also one of the more disturbing plots I’ve seen, that didn’t cross into the soul destroying area. A Walk Among the Tombstones brings tension to the audience throughout the entire film in the hunting of the two disturbed beings. The hunt is in the form of heavy detective work involving talking to suspects, retracing footsteps and trying to piece information together. For once, the mystery has a bit of realism to it, forgoing the convenient pieces of information, for a process that involves actually working for clues. As the movie progresses, the ambiguous nature and seemingly simple motive starts to reveal itself. With each new clue, the mentality of the perpetrators becomes clearer, almost like one is watching an episode of Criminal Minds. Yet the unstable psyche and constant calls of the psychos continue to reestablish the terror of what will happen next. Sure, you have a good idea of what the outcomes will be, but there is just enough uncertainty to have you doubting your thoughts.
Mixed into the bag is some character development amongst the various players in the game, each with their own set of dark secrets that explains why they are scarred for life. Some of these points are relevant, but the mistake here is that they are played over and over again as they build up to the revelation, one of which you already know from the trailers. Other plot elements though are not so relevant or as big as they thought. Some hasty connections were an attempt to add another layer of depth to the story, but I felt the audience could have done without them. Still it gives the cast a little more depth, and provides some emotional depth to an otherwise monotone cast. Perhaps the strongest element of the character development though is the inspiration they have. Albeit a little cheesy in the presentation, there is a good message to those who may have a similar history as Neeson’s character. The emphasis of facing your demons instead of running from them is a lesson many could use a refresher course in. Yet the message is drawn out, much like the background, and sometimes adds unneeded length to the movie.
As for the suspense of the movie, as mentioned I before it is the psychotic mindset of the killers that keeps you in suspense. The only problem with this though is that, with the exception of the last part of the movie, the damage has already been done. Unfortunately for the cast, many of the crimes have already been committed, which dulls the intensity of their acts and makes the film a little boring at first. On the opposite side of spectrum, is that some of the actions are a little too well done, especially at times of torture. As stoic as I am against the usual antics, this movie crossed the line a couple of times to really disturb me. Thus, if you are one who gets REALLY AFFECTED BY SCENES OF SUFFERING should turn a blind eye to this film, or at least until they become a little tolerant.
A Walk Among the Tombstones is a nice crime/drama to bide your time with. Those looking for a little pre-Halloween terror will get your fill with this movie, though in truth there are not a lot of technological aspects that make it theater worthy. Still if you are Liam Neeson fan, jump into this crime drama and be ready for a calmer film than his legendary Taken film. My scores for this film are:
Movie Overall: 7.0