Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Film Review: A Walk Among The Tombstones (2014)

A Walk Among The Tombstones (Review)
United States/2014
Format Viewed For Review: Blu-ray
Netflix Instant: No
Amazon Prime: No

"...a very dark and gritty crime drama."

Private detective Matthew Scudder (Liam Neeson) is hired by a drug trafficker to find the men who kidnapped and killed his wife...

A Walk Among The Tombstones is a noir crime drama-thriller film. The plot follows Matt Scudder, who is hired by a drug dealer, Kenny Kristo, to find and bring his wife's murderers to justice. Although initially hesitant, Matt Scudder agrees after hearing the heinous details of the crime – Kenny's wife, Carrie, kidnapped and murdered despite a ransom being paid. Matt begins tracking the moments before Carrie's abduction, methodically piecing together the crime. The more he digs, the darker the hole gets – the crime gets grislier with the more details uncovered. I can't say much about the plot considering the film's strong focus on mystery and investigation. It is very engaging, though, and the film offers plenty of surprises. The film also offers a powerful hook for each jab, delivering some appalling scenes. It leads to a strong climax and decent ending.

A Walk Among The Tombstones is a great film. It's a very dark and gritty crime drama. The film brings you into this very grungy world of crime and deceit, tossing you in with the filth. I was engrossed from beginning to end, actively listening to every grisly detail – even if some made me shudder. This is one of those well-executed mysteries, where you feel compelled to pull out a notepad and jot some notes down while the movie plays out – I didn't physically do that, but I wanted to. It's also very atmospheric, the tense and brooding aura sits on your shoulders throughout the entire film. If you like these very dark crime films, I think you'll enjoy this one.

It's not all perfect, though. The film has some pacing issues. Now, for the most part, the film works fine as a slow-burn noir – that's part of the tension. It's not too slow, not too fast, but just right during most of the film. There are, however, a few scenes that tend to drag and some that feel unnecessary. Every once and a while, the film tends to feel a bit bloated. Furthermore, the film doesn't delve into every character, even some you'd expect to be center stage. It doesn't have to develop deep characters for each individual, but it would be nice to hear from characters like Kenny a bit more or even the kidnappers – you get an idea, but not much.

The acting was great, though. Liam Neeson plays the same character he's been playing for some time now – Liam Neeson. Fortunately, his brooding character works very well in this film. His performance actually helps develop the brooding atmosphere. The supporting cast is also great. The film is shot well, each scene is framed perfectly. The camerawork is also great. The music matched the tone of the film, too. The film is written for the screen and directed by Scott Frank. Scott Frank knows how to craft scenes very well, developing plenty of suspense. However, he does seem a bit heavy-handed in the writing, either offering too much or too little at times.

Overall, A Walk Among The Tombstones is a great film. It has some issues with the pacing and characters, but it's otherwise very effective. Thanks to some great direction and a strong leading man,
the narrative left a strong impression. If you enjoy dark thrillers with slow-burn pacing, you'll enjoy A Walk Among The Tombstones.

Score: 7/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and blood, some nudity.

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