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Movie Review: A Walk Among The Tombstones

 
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Prinz Lee wrote this review 2 years and 2 months ago

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Cryptically fun, sadistically dark, suspensefully intriguing, and viciously loud would be the best way to describe A WALK AMONG THE TOMBSTONES! Never ceasing to entertain, Liam Neeson once again breaks codes by taking matters into his own hands.

Sure, it’s a formulaic suspense-revenge-thriller like all others that run along a gauntlet of complexities, but who cares? It’s played out well because it stars Liam Neeson and you know at some point in the film he’ll also kick an ass, or two, or three, or four, or how ever many it takes to bring down those sick pieces of shit that always make his cinematic life miserable.

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In this day-and-age, there are many stars in Hollywood who have a solid following. Liam Neeson is one of them. Perhaps it’s because of his charismatic, Irish ways, or because there’s an imposing “it-factor” to him, or because he’s freaking awesome at anything he does, or…you know what? The list can go on and on. The fact of the matter is whatever role he tackles, he winds up owning and in some way, shape, or fashion plays it in a way the audience can relate to. Whatever the case, this cat’s one of the best out there today – dare I say different and (maybe) better than some of those other contemporary action-based types.

He’s back in full demand and this time causing some crime-fighting chaos in the streets of The Rotting Apple!

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Based on Lawrence Block's bestselling series of mystery novels, A WALK AMONG THE TOMBSTONES follows Matt Scudder (Liam Neeson), an ex-NYPD cop who now works as an unlicensed private investigator operating outside the law. When Scudder reluctantly agrees to help a heroin trafficker (Dan Stevens) hunt down the men who kidnapped and then brutally murdered his wife, the PI learns that this is not the first time these men have committed this sort of twisted crime...nor will it be the last. Blurring the lines between right and wrong, Scudder races to track the monsters through the backstreets of NYC before they kill again.

With a plot that takes on complex events as it simultaneously introduces some of the most sketchiest characters ever on film, writer-director Scott Frank does a fantastic job with this noir-like, brain-picking film. Interesting, straight-forward, edgy, and violent…A WALK isn’t the kind of film that leaves anything to rest. From opening scene, to its final, this vicious revenge-thriller serves up some of the darkest, yet fun and interesting (in a would-be cinematic series) feelings in any film released this year.

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The language engages, the setting stops one in their tracks and the authenticity of running through the back-streets of Brooklyn and Queens give off the ruggedness the city’s mainly known for. Elevating all that’s been mentioned of course comes at the precise and genius actions of Neeson, who has owned the right to be called a Badass, and this one’s yet another one that solidifies his characteristics and mannerisms as he takes on a role geared on projecting the odds of taking matters into your own hands.

On the flip, Neeson’s got some comp in this one though, thanks to David Harbour’s whose portrayal of a killer-kidnapper raises the creep-o-meter by a lot. Although not seen much throughout the film, he’s heard and serves as the back-bone of the story. He’s pretty much the man who gives everything and everyone a psychotic run for their money (literally). Teaming up with Albert David Thompson made it that much worse as a duo of villains, but Harbour pulled the strings as a menacing villain with zero limits among victims. The twist to these two is their involvement with some that not only allow them the access and pleasure to their victims, but the types of victims they choose. Delivering one of the best, thought-provoking lines throughout the entire film, much twirls in our heads when and how he says it. That line: “People are afraid of all the wrong things.”

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Being able to outshine its negatives like running a bit long and a specific character (TJ) who really didn’t belong or add much to the story, A WALK AMONG THE TOMBSTONES is definitely one that needs to be given some time and tolerance. It can slow down in places as well, but it doesn’t override the fascination it presents with its gritty story, scenery and strange, tough-as-nails characters it plays along with.

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Grade: B+ / Genre: Drama, Action, Adventure, Adaptation / Rated: R / Run Time: 1 Hr. 55 Min.

Starring: Liam Neeson, Dan Stevens, David Harbour,

Directed by: Scott Frank

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Release Date: September 19, 2014

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