The title of the film was certainly an apt description for a viewing that was really quite lifeless. Liam Neeson plays the typical anti-hero, he’s an ex-cop with a keen sense of justice – yes he has killed people but all under the golden rule that ‘they deserved it’. Yet for all his brooding silences and one-liners his actual character is fairly flat, the dark back story we expect to be revealed never really comes. The plot itself is simple, there are two psychopaths killing drug dealers’ wives, holding them for ransom but killing them anyway.
Neeson, a ‘private’ detective, sets out to bring them to justice. What is shocking however, is the unnecessarily graphic scenes of these women’s deaths, which were simply superfluous and disturbing for a film that prescribes itself as a 15. Among its redeeming features was the original way in which it was shot, capturing the silently unforgiving world of night time New York, reminiscent of the dark smoky silences in Edward Hopper’s painting Nighthawks. The film’s use of flashbacks, comparable with 90s cop show Cold Case, was unusual yet effective, adding much needed depth to the plot.
The eerie music box style soundtrack, more at home in a horror film, was interesting and successful in adding to the suspense and rhythm of the film. Neither can one argue against the aesthetic value of the setting, perfectly mixing the urban with the macabre. The end however, failed to provide the much needed catharsis to the violent intensity of the plot.
If you thought morality, law or justice were supposed to triumph, you will be sadly mistaken, but then what would you expect from a film where drug dealers are portrayed as ‘the good guys’. A further disappointment was its archaic treatment of women. Without a voice, they were merely served as the frail victims of man’s ambition and lust.
Preferable to a viewing of a Walk Among the Tombstones would be a real walk amongst them.