HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: A Walk Among the Tombstones
HTS Overall Score:80
Liam Neeson is one of those stars that has been around for many years, but only recently has opened up to doing more physical rolls like “Taken” and “Among the Tombstones”. For years he did dramas, romances, and comedies but very few physical rolls. Which is rather surprising for a 6 foot 5 inch ex Irish boxer. However, much like a good wine, Liam Neeson gets better with age and his post 40 year old work has been a treat, and while much of them aren’t GREAT movies, he still infuses a lot of fun into them.
Based on the book series by Lawrence Block, “A Walk Among the Tombstones” follows private detective Matt Scudder (Neeson) and his latest job. Hired by a drug dealer named Kenny Kristo (Dan Stevens) to find out who kidnapped and killed his wife, Scudder finds out that there is more than meets the eye. Following the trail he discovers that this is not the first time that these men had kidnapped, tortured and then dismembered a victim. This patter goes back years and is much more involved than a simple snatch and grab. Each step of the path uncovers a new clue and each step reveals something more disturbing about the killers. Now that they have struck again, Scudder has a chance of STOPPING these criminals once and for all. The only problem is that he’s going to have to blur right and wrong in an effort to do so.
The trailers made “A Walk Among the Tombstones” look like a clone of “Taken” with Liam Neeson even doing a rendition of his whole “I’ll find you and kill you” speech he did in said movie, but it actually turns out to be a nice slow burning thriller. A brutal thriller at that. There’s not a whole lot of blood, gore and actual violence shown on screen, but what’s implied is enough to make your skin crawl. It’s done so well that what you don’t see, or what you THINK they might do is actually worse than what actually happens. Scudder is one of those battle weary warriors of old in this movie. One of those guys who did something horrible in his days as a cop and retires due to the event. He’s seen stuff that no one should ever see and its weighed heavy on his soul. “A Walk Among the Tombstones” is his tale of personal redemption. Originally it seems like the finding of the killers is the paramount goal, but as the clock ticks on it becomes more clear that this is a tale of personal redemption, for one event in his life. Scudder is concerned about doing the right thing, but watch the movie carefully, his interaction with the drug dealers daughter, the relationship with T.J. (a disenfranchised kid he takes under his wing) etc and you start to see the underlying subconscious goal.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=36873[/img]The movie itself is just plain bad. I love bad cinema, and have plenty of bad movies in my collection that I love to death, but sometimes bad cinema is just The slow burn isn’t all good though, for a two hour runtime it can feel a bit slow in parts. The laborious piecing together of the clues starts to drag down the second act a bit and make it a bit sluggish. However, once those pieces are put together it comes down to an awesome finale of blood and carnage where some will be redeemed, and some will end up just plain dead. The killers themselves also come with pros and cons. They are completely and totally whicked beyond belief. Psycho killers who exemplify WHY we have a death penalty in most states, but they have one story flaw, and that is that their motivations and reasons for killing really aren’t fleshed out. Ironically that has both pros and cons too. On one side of the coin we have these merciless killers who are out killing and we don’t find out WHY, what motivation do these guys have for hurting these people and it leaves you hanging. However, the flipside is that we really don’t need to know why. They aren’t the main focus of the story! Remember how I mentioned that the movie is about one act of redemption for one single act? Well taking that into account we really don’t need to know why. They are a catalyst, a motivating force behind Matt Scudder in his quest for redemption. Matt and T.J. are really the two main characters. Not the drug dealer, Kenny, not his brother, not the killers, not even the years old murder that he has to solve, just Matt and the Boy. Now the movie takes on a whole different light and you see the thread that weaves the two of them together and spins a tale of personal agony that must be overcome and must be conquered in order to continue on with life.
Rated R for strong violence, disturbing images, language and brief nudity
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=36881[/img]“A Walk among the Tombstones” come to home video with an excellent looking digital presentation in its theatrical aspect ratio of 2.40:1. The image has a wide range color tones, running the gambit from warm and vivid, to soft and given over to pastels and back up the range once more. It seems to be a stylistic decision as each scene changes ever so slightly depending on the mood and story piece at hand. Black levels are excellent, but sometimes shadow detail isn’t 100% perfect, especially in some of the darker scenes. There is quite a bit of fine detail to be marveled at, as the digital photography carries a nice and shiny look to it, showcasing the New York cinematography, from the slums of the Bronx, to the swanky upscale apartment of Kenny and all the modern decorations. The age lines and weary look of Liam Neeson makes it obvious the man is getting up there in years and works well with the bleak and weary tone that the movie represents. There is a bit of softness to the image, but it’s very slight and only noticeable upon extreme scrutiny. Otherwise an excellent transfer.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=36889[/img]The 5.1 DTS-HD MA lossless track is a very solid track that shines both in the quiet dialogue of the majority of the film, as well as some of the more action oriented pieces scattered throughout. As mentioned, the movie tends to have large portions that are very dialogue centric, and the dialogue is excellent, but the film contains a throbbing, and slightly melancholy, score that accentuates the tension and drama that the characters are feeling throughout which adds some dimensionality to those scenes. While there’s not a TON of action, there are several set pieces, notably at the beginning and end of the film, that really rock the subs and surrounds, filling all 6 channels with gunfire that stretches the dynamic range to its limits and deep, throaty LFE that makes each gunshot sound like a howitzer cannon. There is some exceptional use of the surrounds during the hunt for the killers, mainly in the subway and other surrounding cityscape shots that make you feel like you’re in the center of the busiest city in the U.S.
• A look behind The Tombstones
• Matt Scudder: Private Eye
“A Walk Among the Tombstones” is dark, gritty and sometimes downright brutal, but it really is a tale of redemption of one man, of one incident. While it isn’t perfect in its pacing, it has a very satisfying ending that fits the theme of the movie quite well, and the beleaguered performance by Liam Neeson is as satisfying as can be, and makes me really glad the giant Irishman has turned to these darker movies in his older years (and really makes me wish he had chosen action star roles in his younger days). The video and audio are simply superb with the only weak point in the packaging chain is the lack of extras (which seems to be a trend in modern releases). Overall it’s a solid thriller that makes you feel like a much harder R rated version of “Ransom” at some points and is definitely worth checking out, in my opinion.
Starring: Liam Neeson, Dan Stevens, David Harbour, Boyd Holbrook
Directed By: Scott Frank
Written By: Scott Frank (Screenplay), Lawrence Block (Novel)
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 AVC
Audio: ENGLISH: DTS-HD MA 5.1, Spanish DTS 5.1
Runtime: 114 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: January 13th 2015
Buy A Walk Among the Tombstones On Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Check it out
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