Thursday, February 5, 2015
A Walk Among the Tombstones. C+
It's a grim, dead-serious, and pleasantly low-key, adult-oriented thriller with Liam Neeson, yet that's not enough to make A Walk Among the Tombstones entirely satisfying. It needs more characters like the mysterious gardener who writes stories and keeps a bird coop atop a building (the Icelandic Olafur Darri Olafsson, who's been a character actor in a few Hollywood films and hopefully will be in many more in the future) in order to add flavor to what's a fairly ordinary (though admittedly at times pretty creepy) plot. Scott Frank, who's been a great genre screenwriter for a while, proves he's definitely capable in the director's chair (this is his second go round behind the camera, following The Lookout). The film is seeped in atmosphere (autumnal setting and all) and assured camera arrangements usually built around wide shots that give the film a really nice city-noir look. With the exception of one unexpected slow motion scene featuring a girl in a bright red coat, this is as no-nonsense as a movie can get. The film is set in 1999, just before Y2K (referenced several times) and the onslaught of technology in our everyday lives. The movie seems to relish the fact that it can operate in pre-cyber territory and simply deal with the reality of evil in a more primitive form. If only it had a little more sparks flying in the areas between Neeson and the bad guys to make this well-made, well-acted, and well-intentioned thriller just a little more interesting.