In the view of Empire‘s Dan Jolin, Scott Frank‘s A Walk Among The Tombstones (Universal, 9.19) is “in many ways the anti-Taken. Matt Scudder, an ex-cop played by a grizzled Liam Neeson, “doesn’t pack heat. Although he throws a mean punch, violence is something he avoids if possible, preferring to talk his way out of tricky situations. His particular set of skills involves wheedling information out of people (without resorting to torture), pounding pavements and having “a strong bladder”. He’s an old-school shamus, suspicious of cellphones and computers. Frank has unapologetically served up something talky, complex, grown-up.
“Rain-drenched, grey-toned and located in a dilapidated, graffiti-daubed Hell’s Kitchen, this is a dour affair. Tombstones has a thick vicious streak, which while not gratuitous involves the kinds of atrocity you’d expect from a full-on serial-killer thriller. Yet it’s far from one-note. Like Connery, Neeson may never nail the Yank accent, but he sparkles as Scudder, a man tussling with demons but gifted with a wry sense of humor that makes him deeply likable throughout. And, especially in the scenes between Scudder and his unwanted streetkid sidekick TJ (Brian ‘Astro’ Bradley, fresh from American X Factor), Frank imbues his script with a light and knowing regard for the genre, as if to say the private-eye movie, like Scudder himself, might well seem outmoded, but goddammit it, it still gets the job done.”
The all-media for A Walk Among The Tombstones happens tonight at Hollywood’s Arclight.
“If I was Emperor of Hollywood, I would impose a ten-shot rule,” I wrote about 18 months ago. “You can still use firearms to resolve conflicts, but using dozens or hundreds of bullets is out. Okay, you can use automatic gunfire if the film is about a wartime situation or about the Newtown or Aurora massacres or about the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. Or if it’s a remake of The Wild Bunch or Heat or something in that vein. Otherwise you’ve have to shoot no more than ten bullets. That would be a challenge that would separate the men from the boys, you bet.”