Jean-Pau’s Rating: 3/5 stars
Bottom Line: A taut storyline with a high creepiness factor. Interesting, complex characters and good acting. A little slow at points and some selective editing would be nice.
“A Walk Among the Tombstones” is bases off of a book by the same name, which itself is part of a series of books by Lawrence Block featuring pseudo-detective Matthew Scudder (Liam Neeson). Matt is a very complicated character and this movie does his character justice. Some of his motivations don’t quite make sense, but how would you deal with accidentally killing a girl in a shootout? Getting to know Matt also leads to a bit of slowness in the film, but that is forgivable given how well we know Matt by the end. We don’t see stuff like this in movies very often and it was a pleasure to witness.
Another pleasure of the movie is how well crafted the storyline was. Normally, your detective thriller genre movies have these little nagging details that detract from the enjoyment of the movie. This one had none of that. Everything seemed to fit in place. The killers? Well, they’re just crazy. How they targeted their victims made sense. The red herrings that Matt followed made sense. How Matt finally made it on their trail made sense. The denouement, if somewhat unsatisfying, also made sense. What we have here is a very well crafted movie.
The creepiness factor for the movie was also quite high. Everyone in the movie exudes barely contained violence. I guess that is to be expected when the villains are a pair of serial killers and the victims are the wives of drug dealers. But still, it’s rare for a film to find just the right actors to pull it all off.
So why only three stars? Well, the movie could do with a bit of editing. There are way too many scenes of Liam Neeson walking, Liam Neeson staring, Liam Neeson searching. There is also an empathy problem with the movie. You don’t really feel anything for any of the characters except the homeless black kid with sickle cell, T.J. (Astro?, that’s what his byline named him, apparently he’s an X-Factor contestant or winner or something) whom Matt sort of adopts as his assistant detective. And I understand that this is a feature, not a bug, but stuff like this works out much better in printed form than on the big screen.
Oh, and as a parting aside, my brother and I were having a discussion about the title of the movie and we both came to the conclusion that the movie should have been called “A Walk AMONGST the Tombstones”. This, in turn, led do a discussion on whether “among” and “amongst” are interchangeable with the conclusion that, yes, they are interchangeable, but “among” should be struck from the english language because “amongst” is just way cooler sounding.