An adaptation of the tenth entry in author Lawrence Block’s Matthew Scudder detective novels, A Walk Among the Tombstones is a first rate thriller with an interesting premise and a strong, capable lead.
In 1999, New York private eye Matthew Scudder (Liam Neeson), a recovering alcoholic, is hired by drug distributor Kenny Kristo (Dan Stevens) to find the men who kidnapped his wife. Despite Kristo paying the ransom, the kidnappers murdered his wife thereafter. Scudder’s investigation unearths that Kristo’s wife was just one of several women, all loved ones of local drug dealers, who have been murdered in such a way. This sends Scudder on a trail to find the killers, questioning witnesses and chasing up leads with the help of underworld figures and a street wise teenager (Brian ‘Astro’ Bradley).
Director Scott Frank (who also wrote the screenplay) has masterfully constructed an exciting thriller with heaps of bleak style, aided by Carlos Rafael Rivera’s haunting, affecting score. Neeson (channelling his role in Taken) is effective as Scudder and is believable as a hardened, competent detective.
A Walk Among the Tombstones is utterly compelling from beginning to end. A terrific film and one of the best I’ve seen this year.