Liam Neeson has been busy with thrillers of late, most were just adequate. But here, with Director/Writer Scott Frank, he turns back to the thrillers of Bogart days, complete in the noir tradition of dark, brooding, rainy scenes.
Matthew Scudder (Neeson) is an unofficial private eye (“I do something for someone and they give me something”).
Early on his pal introduces him to Kristo (Dan Stevens of “Downton Abbey”) whose wife was kidnapped and dismembered despite his paying the ransom. All Kristo wants is to get his hands on the murderers and inadvertently Scudder is drawn into the hunt.
Scudder turns down the job but is engulfed in the story.
This is not a highly complex movie. It’s set in 1999 amid the computer crash feared then, and the plot moves along straight arrow, no red herrings needed.
But there is a sidekick for Scudder, TJ (Brian “Astro” Bradley, who’s tech savvy and pulls Scudder into the wired world neatly). He’s young and sullen and is a nice counterweight to Scudder’s crusade.
Complexity rises when Scudder thinks an FBI truck is that of the kidnappers, but it works out neatly.
No need for spoilers here, the rest of the story unwraps neatly, a straight line to the two sadistic killers, with one murdering the other.
Mostly satisfactory with Neeson at his best.
•Liam Neeson as Matthew Scudder
•Dan Stevens as Kenny Kristo
•Sebastian Roché as Yuri Landau
•Ólafur Darri Ólafsson as Loogan
•David Harbour as Ray
•Eric Nelsen as Howie
•Brian “Astro” Bradley as TJ
A Walk Among the Tombstones
by Lawrence Block
Carlos Rafael Rivera
Mihai Malaimare Jr.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.