Here’s the trailer for A Walk Among The Tombstones, starring Liam Neeson as unlicensed, ex-cop, recovering alcoholic P.I. Matthew Scudder, who is tasked with finding the missing wife of a drug dealer. It’s based on an excellent mystery novel by Lawrence Block (and one of about a thousand in the very, very good Scudder series). Seriously, if hard-boiled, noirish detective fiction is your bag, I highly recommend the book.
I very much like what I’m seeing. I’ve been having more and more difficulty with Neeson being cast as an action hero — not so much because of age, but more because of his general carriage, which just doesn’t always work. Yet here, as a world weary, worn-out detective who works in the darker corners of New York City, it’s much more effective. And it appears that the film, adapted and directed by Scott Frank (The Lookout), did the smart thing and left most of the novel’s critical elements intact (though it looks like they left out his complex and fascinating on-and-off relationship with a prostitute) — it’s sufficiently dark, and they didn’t feel the need to make it into a big, exciting, explosion-heavy action movie. The novel is violent at times, but not so much action-y. It’s intense and gripping, but not exciting. Best of all, they appear to have retained much of the book’s dialogue (“once they get in the van, they’re just body parts” is a critical and terrifying moment in the book). I’m hoping they nail it.