A Walk Among The Tombstones DVD Review

DVD Review by Clayton Barnett
A Walk Among The Tombstones

The Premise
Formerly a detective with the NYPD, now a recovering alcoholic haunted by regrets, Matt Scudder has a lot to make up for. When a series of kidnappings targeting the city's worst drug criminals escalates to grisly murder, the circuit's ruthless leader convinces Scudder to find the culprits and bring them to bloody justice. Working as an unlicensed private detective, Matt sees what the police don't see and treads where they most fear to. Operating just outside the law to track down the monsters responsible, Scudder stops just short of becoming one himself.
The Review
You’re pretty much asking: is it as good as Taken? And potentially pleading: please don’t let it be as shite as Taken 2. Good news on both fronts people as A Walk Among the Tombstones is a cracker thriller. Mind you it’s not as full-throttle as Taken - more a moodier modern film noir – but Liam Neeson does what he does best, taking names and dialling up some threatening phone calls. The pedigree behind this film is top-notch too; Oscar-nominated screenwriter Scott Franks (Out of Sight, Get Shorty) does hardboiled in his sleep. He writes and directs Tombstones in a gritty New York underbelly and litters it with less-than-likeable criminals.. Lucky for us we have Neeson on foot and offline (set in the late 90s Neeson’s character abhors cellphones and the net) tracking the bad boys down as private investigator Matt Scudder. This film is #10 in a series of 17 based on Scudder’s exploits and hopefully Tombstones’ U.S. success sets up a new Neeson franchise. Franks successfully squeezes in some laughs with Neeson buddied up with a young wannabe Sam Spade sidekick. An unrecognisable Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey) turns up stateside as a herion trafficker and it’s interesting to watch one of his first big screen outings.
But it’s Neeson we’re here for and classic Neeson we get. Unknown was such a disappointing follow up from his surprise success as action-hero in Taken but thankfully Tombstones has Neeson in good form. It’s nice to see Neeson avoiding firearms and using his wits to survive most of the movie. It does get a bit gruesome at times and Franks might put a few too many plot points in but the moody feel lets you sink and enjoy the manhunt.
The Verdict
Liam Neeson is in fine form, taking names and making uncomfortable phone calls. A moody and noir-ish film Tombstones is a good watch and hopefully it’s not the last walk we see Neeson take as the old school private investigator.
The Trailer
The Info
DVD Releases: 18th February 2015
Rating: R16 - Contains violence, sexual violence & offensive language
Duration: 114 minutes
Genre:  Action
Starring: Liam Neeson, Dan Stevens, David Harbour
Director: Scott Frank (The Lookout)
The Extras
The novel it is based on is #10 in the series of Matt Scudder novels by Lawrence Block. As of 2013 there are 17 novels by this author about the character, the latest published in 2011.
Originally this was supposed to be Joe Carnahan's directorial follow up to his indie hit Narc (2002). At that time Harrison Ford was attached to star.
Second appearance of character Matt Scudder. The fist time it was played by Jeff Bridges in 8 Million Ways to Die (1986).
Michael Iluma was considered for the role of TJ.
Ruth Wilson was cast as Joe Durkin (who is a male character in the books) and filmed all of her scenes as Liam Neeson's partner. But the director felt that Neeson's character should be a loner so all of Wilson's scenes were cut.