Monday, September 22, 2014
Movie Review: "A Walk Among The Tombstones" (2014)
Sometimes a movies' biggest crime is being average. Both a good movie and a bad movie can stick with you long after you are done watching them, though for very different reasons. Scenes, characters and story elements stick out to you that either made you excited to see more or were so poorly executed that you could not help but laugh.
But an average movie, one that is neither good nor bad, is forgotten rather easily. Very little sticks out and by the time you are done with your popcorn and walk out of the theater, you already don't remember the majority of the film. Maybe you'll remember a line or two or have one scene stuck in your head, but if you were tell a friend what happened in the movie, your description would be vague or scatter shot.
In a way, it might actually be better to be a terrible movie than it is to be an average movie. At least people remember the horrendous works of cinema.
"A Walk Among The Tombstones" falls into the class of an average movie. It is basic, by the numbers and doesn't try to do anything that would get people to hate the film. Nothing is that bad movie, and the actors do a competent job, but nothing necessarily sticks out or is that memorable. A good distraction for two hours, but not much else.
Matt Scudder (Liam Nesson) is a former New York City cop and Private Investigator, who decides to take on a case about a couple of kidnappers who seem to be taking the wives of drug dealers and holding them ransom for large sums of money, only to murder the wives anyway in gruesome fashion. All the while, Scudder must deal with the man who hired him and his wish for angry revenge and a homeless child who wishes to follow in his footsteps.
My biggest complaint with "A Walk Among The Tombstones" is that it clearly wants to be dark, edgy, gritty and be taken seriously, but never takes that far enough. The women in the film get killed in the most brutal and gorey way (great way to portray all your female characters, by the way), but we are only told about it. The kidnappers are meant to be sick freaks who do this for pleasure, but we don't really see them do anything that intimidating other than a few phone conversations. There is shady business being conducted with drug dealing, but we don't see anyone do drugs or how drugs are making anyone's life miserable.
It's like a crime boss who talks a big game and makes a lot of intimidating demands, but never backs it up. That's not a threat to be taken seriously, that's a child with a megaphone.
See, last year "Prisoners" did what "A Walk Among The Tombstones" attempted to do and succeeded. It told a compelling mystery set in a world of twisted and perverted people, and it made you want to see more of those insane people try to cope in this equally crazy world. "Prisoners" also didn't pull any punches with its subject and showed us every desperate step that our characters took to save the lives of these children, even if they did immoral things to get their kids back.
"A Walk Among The Tombstones" however wants to be edgy and disturbing, like other Liam Nesson films such as "Taken," but at the same time wants to play it safe so that the mainstream accepts it. The problem with that is this ends up pleasing nobody. The story gets watered down by many side characters that don't add much to the story other than to lighten the mood, and mainstream audiences are thrown off by how disgusting the film can be.
As I said earlier, the actors do a good job with what they're given and there are some good moments of suspense and tension, especially building up to the final climatic showdown. It is typical Liam Nesson-fare and we do get some good moments of him being a badass. It is strange how the older Nesson gets, the more he tends to go for the roles where he gets to be the action star who gets to throw punches and break some noses.
But again, "A Walk Among The Tombstone" does not do anything to catch your attention. Many scenes are predictable and clichéd by this point that you know exactly what'll happen three scenes ahead of time. As such, it's hard to recommend this film to anybody. If you like Liam Nesson, then you'll at least enjoy him intimating thugs over the phone. Other than that, don't expect much out of "A Walk Among The Tombstones."
Final Grade: D+