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Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

A Walk Among The Tombstones | Liam Neeson, Brian “Astro” Bradley, Dan Stevens, David Harbour, Adam David Thompson | Review

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3sm The Flick Chicks movie rating for this film is MEDIOCRE Judy Thorburn

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3lg The Flick Chicks movie rating for this film is MEDIOCRE


A Walk Among The Tombstones

The most terrifying horror movies have nothing to do with monstrous, extraterrestrial creatures. The truly scary films, like Silence of the Lambs and Se7en, involve real life human monsters as in those sadistic psychopaths who walk among us and perform the most unspeakable heinous crimes.

The mystery crime drama, A Walk Among the Tombstones, is yet another film where the worst examples of humankind rears its ugly head.

As the character of a gun wielding hero he has embodied before and by now must feel comfortable portraying, Liam Neesom (the original Taken and its sequel, Non Stop) stars as Matt Scudder, a brooding, former NYPD cop and recovering alcoholic now working as an unlicensed private investigator.  He's a laid back tough guy who doesn't like deadly confrontations and would rather use his wits and smart talk than a gun to get his prey.

The story kicks into gear when Scudder is hired by Kenny Kristo, a drug trafficker (an icy Dan Stevens, of TV's Downton Abbey) to hunt down the men who abducted and brutally killed his wife, despite having paid them a $400,000 ransom. Calling the police is definitely out of the question for Kristo, considering the business he is in, and so the killers know exactly whose female loved ones they can safely target.

Director/writer Scott Frank, whose script is adapted from the tenth in a series of novels by Lawrence Block,  sets the story in 1999, amid the new millennium Y2K scare.   Referring to the looming threat, at some point one of the killers states, “People are afraid of the wrong things.” As long as he and his partner are on the loose, they and those like them, prove to be the real reasons to be afraid.

After a reluctant Scudder agrees to take on this case, his investigation takes him through the mean streets of Manhattan and Brooklyn, leading to clues pointing to repeat offenders, two misogonistic, bloodthirsty sickos (played with chilling conviction by David Harbour and Adam David Thompson) that have committed the ghastly crime before and won't stop until they are finally caught.

Along the way, Scudder acquires a sidekick, whom he refers to as his “associate”, a homeless African American teen (Brian “Astro” Bradley, Earth to Echo) named TJ whose heroes are comic book detectives and yearns to be a P.I.  So naturally TJ is ready, willing and eager to assist Scudder in any way he can. The pair appear to be two lost souls, with each struggling with a past that has left an indelible scar.  TJ was abandoned by his mother, and Scudder, haunted by guilt over a past tragedy, is in desperate need of redemption.

I find the depiction of sadistic torture and mutilation of women to be repulsive and offensive and the story bleak and disturbing. Yet, I have to say, filmmaker Scott Frank has crafted an effective, stylish thriller, although this walk among the tombstones isn't something I would want to revisit.


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