Crime is the most realistic a genre can get. If you like the ongoing obsession called True Detective, just dump this review and run to a theater to watch the Scott Frank’s deceitful craft A Walk Among the Tombstones, based upon Lawrence Block’s 1992 novel of the same title. Liam Neeson plays illegal private detective Matthew Scudder assigned a reluctant case of a barbarous gay couple who kidnap a drug trafficker Kenny Kristo’s beautiful wife. Kenny pays the ransom only to be served with wrapped severed body parts of his wife, deeming the killers nothing less than psychos who turn out to serial.
Tombstones is unlike Taken and the stint of films Neeson had after that. He is a solo protagonist but not the predictable character that will end the film with all being well. The best part is that the serial murders have nothing to do with Scudder’s personal life. He is never the target. He won’t directly care about his unavoidable teen sidekick TJ (Brian ‘Astro’ Bradley), but he is resourceful when it comes to work sans his gun. The film gives a rush of Taken in a telephone conversation involving Scudder dominating the villain, but that’s all. Scudder is a serious persona with a wry humor and his chemistry with TJ is amusing.
Writer-director Scott Frank is a reviver for this desperately needed cinema. He derives influences from Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas and Steven Splielberg’s Munich for this one. Tombstones hardly wavers from its prime plot. There is no scene singly specifying any personal aspect of any character, not even that of the serial killers. He has kept the film gory in a passive manner instead of visual ranting. Also you never what you might be shown next. The film has brilliant performances from other lesser known actors. The depiction of Brooklyn in 1999 is artistic. The film comes off more as a surprise from Neeson’s side. Let’s just hope this is a start to a film series!