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MOVIE REVIEW: “A WALK AMONG THE TOMBSTONES” – A Solidly-Told Crime-Thriller Despite its Brisk Walking Pace



8.5/ 10

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3 total ratings


“A Walk among the Tombstones” is a solid film with a decent mix of an edgy noir and a genuinely thrilling mystery that could at least keep you going from the film’s pace.

Posted September 29, 2014 by



It seems that Hollywood is looking for some hot properties when it comes to them going to the  Crime-Fiction aisle at the bookstore. Recently we got Alex Cross and Jack Reacher, both poorly performing in the box office that has given them a rather vague future of exploring more of their stories. But if there’s anyone else among Alex Cross, Jack Reacher, and now Matt Schudder with November Man and The Equalizer later this year, Matt Schudder is definitely the one who deserves a better future among them when it comes to Lawrence Block’s works becoming a Hollywood made film series.

A Walk Among The Tombstones – Is based on a novel of the same name by Lawrence Block and it follows a former NYPD cop turned unlicensed private detective, Matthew Schudder (Liam Neeson). One night, he was called in to investigate the murder of a trafficker’s (Dan Stevens) wife and find the men who killed her. But as he goes deeper in this investigation, he soon realizes that this wasn’t the first time that something this twisted happened to someone, nor it will be the last. Now, he will do anything with his very particular set of skills as he races to track their next move before they could make another heinous crime.

Initially, I thought that I was going in for another “Badass Liam Neeson Showcase: Part (I lost count)” but to my surprise it (barely) wasn’t. The film had a lot of time to breathe some air, unlike any other movies Liam Neeson had done in the past, the film takes a lot of long breaks than go for the “shoot first, blow stuff up, growl questions at the phone later”, and if you were expecting that you may find yourself sleeping through this movie.

In those quiet moments, the film noir tone plays a part. The way director, Scott Frank tackled the noir aspect of the film is a rather traditional one having the lead character going back to the scene of the crime, interviewing witnesses, and not have everything be solved with a fancy macbook (this movie is after all taken place in a Y2K crazed timeline ) while running into some shady faces along the way.

More so, this film successfully recaptured the bleak noir setting through the way it was filmed in a partially cloudy/rainy New York City with gun slinging action scenes that has sounds that are executed effectively. The film does require you to pay attention to the details given because there are huge gaps of scenes between the mystery and some scenes where Liam Neeson is just taking time off.

Which goes to my main flaw of this movie having some pacing issues, gaps of scenes are so big between others to the point where you forget about the clues he found an hour earlier in the film, which is unfortunate because the movie does do a good job at making you the audience feel invested in this investigation for a little while. Again, if you want to enjoy the film, you should pay close attention too.

But I have to warn you, this film had a lot of disturbing material to work with. Thankfully they aren’t gratuitous nor did they sensationalize the violence. Meaning, the film doesn’t rely on making you sit back and watch these innocent people get carved in an over the top way just for the sake of shock value. It does send a good message that creeps like them (in the movie) do in fact exist where they do twisted things like what they did in the movie for their own enjoyment.
A Walk Among blogThe performances are also top notch in this film. Ever since 2008’s Taken, Liam Neeson honed a new identity to be this grey macho action star with a growly accent (sometimes I feel like he got that from his shadowy apprentice?) whether he’ll be in another screwed up European country or most recently – a plane. With that many, he could sleepwalk his way through the entire film in these archetypical roles. But like I said earlier, this movie has a lot of room to breathe and the script does give him some solid material to work with. It is always enjoyable to see him play this kind of character, and he does play it very well as always.

Although, the minimal supporting cast also help this movie a lot too, with notables being a barely recognizable Dan Stevens (I totally don’t watch Downtown Abbey) as the man who pitted Liam Neeson to find his wife’s killers, and very eerie performances by both David Harbour and Robert Boyd Hallbrook as the two creeps in this movie. But the one who really stood out was, Brian “Astro” Bradley (the rapper kid, who started off as an X-Factor finalist not too long ago). Kid actors are a gamble these days especially with zero background at all when it comes to acting, they could end up as your rising star or your movie’s little Anakin Skywalker, but he was actually better than I thought he’d be. He played a boy-sidekick to Liam Neeson throughout the movie; he served his purpose well as the nosy kid but and had some good back and forth with Liam Neeson in a lot of the breaks of the film, their kind of banter brought life to the film’s three acts.

In the end, this movie is definitely nothing mind-blowingly original nor is it the “badass middle age action star showcase” that one would come to expect, this film does take a lot of time to have some quiet moments where Liam Neeson is given the chance to stretch his acting chops along with the cast and also settle for some clever writing and intrigue. “A Walk among the Tombstones” is a solid film with a decent mix of an edgy noir and a genuinely thrilling mystery that could at least keep you going through the film’s pace. I honestly didn’t know what to expect from this movie; I didn’t watch any trailers or even clips of the film; I didn’t know where the film will take me and each turn does have some rather pleasing results. With that said, the best experience is definitely a blind watch (the trailers gives a lot of “big things” away).

 Special Thanks to Solar Entertainment Philippines For The Invites! “A Walk Among The Tombstones” is now playing in a theater near you!

GP Manalo

G.P. Manalo is a student by day, and a resident tortured writer by night. Writing to keep him sane from all the Business School papers and presentations piling up each week.


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