Liam Neeson has recently been typecast as the former secret agent turned Father. And something usually happens to someone close to him sending him on a journey of redemption, involving guns, drugs and money usually. It’s been a boring concoction of generic films for Qui-Gon Jinn, but luckily he decided to star in this 90s thriller entitled A Walk Among the Tombstones.
It tells the story of former cop turned private detective Matthew Scudder who is hired by a drug lord to find out who kidnapped and murdered his wife. He meets a variety of characters along the way, including TJ the young man who decides to help Scudder locate the killers. During the film, Scudder realises that the murders are connected, and research the methods they are using. As its set in the late 90s, he uses the library and news articles to find clues to connect the murders. A film that keeps you thinking until the last scene, with a more relaxed vibe compared to the Taken franchise, A Walk Amoung the Tombstones is a neo-noir thriller that engages the audience’s perception of what is wrong and right.
Thanks to the success of the Taken franchise Liam Neeson is known as the man who will find you. Matthew Scudder is a thinker rather than shoot first think later. Neeson’s performance is more thoughtful and it is shown when he is interacting with TJ in the library and while on the street. The film is set majority in the day, which is unique considering its genre is noir. The detective is always in a state of tension, with Matthew Scudder now a private investigator thanks to previous trauma in his career. He is sympathetic to the other characters in the film, thanks to their loss.
The beauty of the film is that it’s set to a time before 9/11 which now seems dated. 1999 was an exciting time, thanks to advances in cellular technology, and the threat of the millennium bug. It’s wise that the characters are trying to reveal a threat that they cannot stop. Money, persuasion and trafficking cannot be traded for life, and this is what makes the film unique. The murderers are not like everyone else, only targeting the powerful and then asking for ransom. They then kill them with no warning.
It is an ok film, which uses the same characteristics as the Taken franchise but then flips it on its side and uses neo-noir for the basis. A detective on the search for the killers.
Should you watch it: YES