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MOVIE REVIEW: A Walk Among the Tombstones

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A Walk Among the Tombstones is the new crime thriller starring Liam Neeson.  The film is based on the Lawrence Block novel of the same name and was written and directed by Scott Frank.  Frank is newer to the directing side of things, but he has a slew of impressive screenwriting credits such as Minority Report, The Wolverine, and Marley and Me.  Alongside Neeson, the film stars Dan Stevens, Boyd Holbrook, Sebastian Roché, and Brian “Astro” Bradley who was a finalist on The X Factor.

Matthew Scudder (Neeson), a former NYPD officer turned private investigator, has been hired by a local drug trafficker to hunt down the men that kidnapped and murdered his wife.  The kidnappers accepted the ransom and still killed his wife, leaving the husband starving for revenge.  As part of his investigation, Scudder unveils a pattern of murders involving loved ones of other drug honchos.  With the help of a local homeless teenager, many dark and mysterious secrets are uncovered in the search for the truth.  Now, with the clock ticking away, he must intensify the hunt before the killers snatch their next victim.

A Walk Among the Tombstones is not the next great Liam Neeson action flick like the trailers might lead you to believe.  It is a much slower film that spends the majority of its time on the development of the story and the characters.  The tone of the film is very grim with some very dark and twisted material.  With a run time of just under two hours, it seemed like it dragged on after a while.  I think it would have been better served by shaving off about twenty minutes, because it felt somewhat redundant throughout the middle act.  Aside from the disturbing images and some harsh language, I’m not sure this was much better than some of the good crime dramas you can find on television.  As great of an actor as Liam Neeson is, he has somehow turned himself into a tough guy action hero.  His character here is really the same guy from his action movies without all the fighting and killing.  I think he’s fantastic, but I would like to see him stretch himself a little more.  With thinking dramas such as this, you’d like for it to resonate even after you’ve left the theater, and that just wasn’t the case.  Overall, A Walk Among the Tombstones doesn’t break any new ground but is an entertaining movie nonetheless.

Grade C+

A Walk Among the Tombstones opens in theaters on Friday, September 19.