A walk among the tombstones is about a retired cop, Matt Scudder, who is asked by a drug dealer to find the men who kidnapped his wife. His investigation leads him to believe that these men have done this before and that they will do it again.
The film gets off to a good start, it has a good build up, explaining to us why Neeson’s character is the way he is and how he finds himself in the current situation. It then takes us into the overarching story of Scudder investigating the kidnapping of the drug dealers (Dan Stevens) wife. The set up of the kidnapping and the mystery behind it is good, they play into the fear of the unknown by not revealing what the kidnappers look like straight out the gate. This adds a nice amount of mystery and tensions and gets you curious.
However in the second act, where the main story is now in play and you have an understanding of what’s going on, things start slowing down. They reveal what the kidnappers look like a lot earlier than they should which takes some of the mystery away and not too much happens. Scudder goes about doing routine investigations like you would expect and old cop to do, and it takes you down a road that becomes a bit predictable. In the beginning, the film came across as if it was trying to be more of a thriller than anything but then slowly progressed to becoming a crime drama. It seems it wasn’t too sure exactly what genre it wanted to fit into.
Scudder is portrayed as a hard, tough man. Which would have worked well if they had continued it throughout the film, but they introduce the character of TJ, who to me, they seemed to shoehorn in, in order to use him to humanize Scudder. If you had left TJ out completely and Kept Scudders character as a hard, tough man, it would have worked much better.
As the plot unfolds and we start to see more and more of the kidnappers and their interactions with Scudder, it starts to become fairly predictable and doesn’t leave too much anticipation or mystery to it. It becomes just another run of the mill crime story. This film would have worked well if it was a single episode in a detective series, but not as a stand-alone film.
On a more positive note the film was well shot, it used good camera angles that added to what little mystery there was and it ended up being a good looking film from a cinematography perspective. Also, Neeson was a slight redeeming factor, his performance was good and helped carry the film along.
But in the end I felt like the film didn’t really know what it wanted to be, and struggled to find focus, and didn’t engage you as much as it could have, which, unfortunately, left it a bit flat.
If you’re big detective story fan or a fan of Liam Neeson, I would recommend not going out of your way to watch this one.