'A Walk Among the Tombstones' dreary realism misses life's better moments
A Walk Among the Tombstones explores a gritty, ugly, dirty pre-9/11 America, wherein the hero, an ex-cop who shot a girl and is now a detective (played by Liam Neeson) is involved in trying to find two depraved, disgusting men who rape and dismember the wives of drug dealers.
The two biggest problems with the film are that it has given away its best moments and most of its surprise in the trailer, and there is no joy in it. Anyone who has seen the trailers knows who the secondary bad guy is, which wouldn’t be so bad, but the movie spends the first act hiding the faces of the main characters only to have their identities bot play any real role, and the reveal of their faces to be done at a point that doesn’t make any sense.
There are lots of swear words, illness, bruising, bleeding, and other awful images filmed in stark realistic terms, but there is never any joy. Even the opening scene, which plays like a stereotypical cop film, has no joy. Without joy, there is no payoff for this film, and even the last scene seems to put its thumb in the eye of the viewer.
However, this movie shows what real violence is. There is no one person cutting through a swath of gunmen as misaimed bullets rain down from above. Instead, the bad guys are outnumbered, and Neeson ends up hurt several times. The acting is good. Character motivations are hazy, but since the story is told from the point of view of the hero, it makes sense that the audience wouldn’t know why the villains do what they are doing.
In the end, the movies seems to be saying that there was no golden age. Life sucked before the World Trade Center was destroyed by terrorists, and people will continue to be afraid of the wrong things. If gritty, joyless films are your thing, you will like A Walk Among the Tombstones.
Read Romney's Review of A Walk Among the Tombstones on MoviePilot