It’s the end of the old millennium. New York is a pusher’s paradise, Y2K fever is sweeping the globe and all crumpled crimefighters have a young black sidekick who says things like ‘word’ and ‘dope’. But something’s amiss. If it really is 1999, shouldn’t Liam Neeson be making better movies?
Adapted from Lawrence Block’s thriller and presumably pitched as the first in a franchise centred around his Matt Scudder character, this is a dour, exploitative crime story. Neeson plays ex-cop-turned-private-dick Scudder, whose investigation into the brutal murder of a drug dealer’s wife leads to a series of grisly discoveries.
‘A Walk Among the Tombstones’ is well paced and fairly watchable, but it does take itself desperately seriously: Scudder spends much of the film agonising over his alkie past, while the climactic gun battle plays out to the sound of someone reading the AA’s 12 steps in a portentous monotone. The violence, too, is uncomfortably grim, ultimately hinging on the potential rape and mutilation of a 14-year-old girl. Think ‘Taken’ meets ‘Taggart’, only not as much fun.