Liam Neeson plays a private investigator hired to find the kidnapped wife of a dug trafficker in A Walk Among the Tombstones.

Liam Neeson plays a private investigator hired to find the kidnapped wife of a dug trafficker in A Walk Among the Tombstones.

Reel Reviews: Neeson takes a walk to remember

A Walk Among the Tombstones, starring Liam Neeson, is a throwback to gritty cop movies of the late ‘70s, early ‘80s.

  • Sep. 26, 2014 7:00 a.m.

Matthew Scudder (Liam Neeson) is an ex-cop, now private investigator who works off the books.

“I sometimes do favours for people who give me gifts,” he says.

When a drug trafficker can’t go to the police about his wife being kidnapped, Scudder is hired to investigate the crime.

We say, “It’s a throwback to gritty cop movies of the late ‘70s, early ‘80s.”

TAYLOR: I really enjoyed A Walk Among the Tombstones. It started out comically cheesy, like a Dirty Harry movie. After the opening scene of chasing baddies through busy city streets, firing guns willy-nilly, the story jumps ahead a number of years and becomes more subdued.

The story is an investigation involving seedy people up to no good, the kidnapping and murders of people who, due to their businesses, won’t go to the police for help. The kidnappers know this and are exploiting it, so the regular rules don’t apply.

As per usual, Neeson is a tough, old bugger with a particular set of skills, but in this film, he plays a much more realistic character. I believed Neeson in this role, perhaps more than any other he’s played.

HOWE: I loved this movie. It would make my top three so far this year. The acting was top notch by all involved. I thought this was one of Neeson’s best performances, couple that with some great acting from David Harbour and Adam David Thompson as the kidnappers and you have one very good movie.

The two kidnappers were fantastically creepy. Not since The Silence of the Lambs have I seen such a disturbing thriller in the sense of what the kidnappers do to their hostages. What I really like are movies from which I am not expecting much, then they sneak up on you and you are thoroughly entertained from start to finish.

TAYLOR: I liked the classic cinematography: no shaky hand-held cameras here. This film could be shown in film school as an instruction in how to shoot a movie. Smooth dolly shots, perfect still frames, letting the action move the camera rather than the other way around. It reminded me of all the films I’ve loved in the past for these reasons. Combine that with a nice creepy, gritty, slightly perverted script and solid performances, this might be the sleeper hit of the year. I think it deserves to be a hit, but audiences seem to prefer movies that are bigger and louder. This is a great, grown- up movie.

HOWE:  I agree and I don’t think I have to say anything else about it. Just go, watch it, and enjoy.

Taylor gives A Walk Among the Tombstones 4.5 fingers out of 5.

– Howe gives it 4.5 whiskey shots out of 5.

The film is currently showing at the Galaxy Cinemas in Vernon.

Brian Taylor and Peter Howe are film reviewers based in Vernon, B.C. Their column, Reel Reviews, appears in The Morning Star every Friday and Sunday.