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So as you know, I stopped writing lengthy reviews on this site this year, keeping the blog as more of a film diary of sorts.  Lo and behold,...

Monday, July 20, 2015

Movie Review - A Walk Among the Tombstones

A Walk Among the Tombstones (2014)
Starring Liam Neeson, Dan Stevens, David Harbour, Boyd Holbrook, and Brian "Astro" Bradley
Directed by Scott Frank

There's something wrong with the notion that since A Walk Among the Tombstones doesn't feature Liam Neeson in "Hellbent Revenge Mode," I found myself enjoying this one a little more than I probably should.  Considering that nearly every movie Neeson makes places him in the Vengeful Family Member Role, his role here as private eye Matt Scudder at least feels like a breath of fresh air.  Sure, he's still playing an aging badass, but at least Neeson changes tone here a little bit, creating a character who isn't a carbon copy of nearly everything else he's been playing in big budget pictures since Taken made him a star late in life.

The plot here is fairly simple -- after an unfortunate event in 1991, Matt Scudder quit the NYC police force and became a private detective.  Now, in 1999, Matt is currently hired to help wealthy drug dealer Kenny Kristo (Downton Abbey's Dan Stevens) track down the men who kidnapped his wife and then delivered her back to him literally chopped into little pieces.  Because of his drug connections, Kenny is unable to call the police so Matt reluctantly agrees only to discover that the culprits of the crime haven't finished their reign of terror.

Don't kid yourself here -- while Neeson isn't playing a revenge-obsessed family member, he's still playing a morose, downtrodden, tough-as-nails guy so he's not exactly stretching the boundaries here, but at least director-screenwriter Scott Frank gives Neeson a role that's a tad different.  While most of the other actors here feel as if they're hamming it up for the camera, Neeson appears genuine as does relative newcomer Brian "Astro" Bradley as a young orphan who befriends Matt and helps him solve his case.  Sure, this relationship is essentially unnecessary in terms of plot development, but it added a nice change of pace to the depression that permeates the rest of the film.  Plus, Bradley definitely has a presence that kept my interest and makes the most of a throwaway role.

The RyMickey Rating:  B-

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