BY: ZACH NIX
A Walk Among the Tombstones is writer/director Scott Frank’s newest noir/thriller. While I love the tone and moody atmosphere of this film, none of the film’s plot or characters are engaging. Even though A Walk Among the Tombstones starts off strong, the film quickly becomes a bore. Tombstones opens in 1991 as we meet alcoholic cop Matthew Scudder (Liam Neeson). As he goes to sit down for a couple drinks in a bar, three robbers hold up the place and gun down the bartender. Neeson engages in a tense shootout with the three men that makes for one of the most exciting gunfights in recent history. The sequence is bolstered by impeccable sound design where every gunshot packs a real wallop.
The film then jumps ahead to 1999 where Scudder is no longer an alcoholic or a cop, but a detective for hire. Scudder soon meets Kenny (Dan Stevens), a drug dealer with a problem. Two men recently kidnapped and killed Kenny’s wife. Therefore, Kenny wants Scudder to find the two men. As Scudder investigates into the case, he quickly realizes that the two men have done this before and that Kenny’s wife was just one of many women chopped into pieces by these two madmen.
A Walk Among the Tombstones has incredible sound design, great New York location shooting, and gorgeous cinematography. Unfortunately, most of the film’s positives stop there. The plot and characters of the film are a complete bore. Nothing and nobody in the film ever engages the viewer emotionally. Having seen Frank’s previous feature, The Lookout, I could tell what kind of film he was trying to make. Unfortunately, Frank completely fails to capture the audience’s attention with the film’s boring proceedings and messy plot.
It is also worth mentioning that Liam Neeson gives a very good performance. Unlike his popular Taken films, Neeson plays a character who doesn’t beat his enemies into submission. Instead, Scudder uses hits wits and talks himself out of physical confrontations. Therefore, Scudder feels far more realistic than your average action lead.
Overall, A Walk Among the Tombstones is wasted potential. The film has some fabulous action beats and excellent noir visuals. But beyond that, Tombstones is one of the most boring and dull crime thrillers of the year.