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THE BROWNS BOARD

Walk Among The Tombstones Review


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a walk among the tombstones

Universal

R 113 min

 

One complaint we hear often is that film producers often take best sellers and change the plots to the point where the film is nearly unrecognizable.

Some purists will complain about emissions in a complex series as in the elimination of Tom Bombadil from LOTR. Others, including Stephen King, get upset when favorite scenes are ditched such as the hedge animals in THE SHINING.

I would imagine that if have not read and loved the book before seeing a film many or most of these changes won't be noticed. I have actually read Robert Blocks novel A WALK AMONG THE TOMBSTONES within the last month unaware that there was a pretty damn good film version about to be released.

Unfortunately at first glance it looks an awful lot like the last four hundred Liam Neeson movies that feature a renegade cop going after some really nasty kidnappers. And that, I fear, is going to cost it dearly at the box office.

But this loner cop and these sick bastards and this particular set of victims is substantially different from your usual fare.

The kidnappers want money, sure but most especially they want to torture and rape and murder their victims.

Ex cop Matthew Scudder ' s (Neeson) clients, in this case, are drug traffickers whose wives and daughters have been abducted.

These men have been targeted for two reasons, one they have plenty of cash on hand and two they will be reluctant to go to the police.

It's too late for Kenny Kristo (Dan Stevens) whose dear wife has already been brutally murdered after the ransom was paid, but his interest finding the kidnappers has nothing to do with the legal system if you know what I mean.

Director screenwriter Scott Frank has stripped the novel to its bare bones and in doing so has eliminated some of the clever twists along the way to finding the killers, but unless you knew that in advance it's not a deal breaker. Also I liked his AA 12 step flashback sequence with the acts of violence a la THE GODFATHER.

He does succeed in creating a very cool old time detective feel in the stark tradition of someone like Sam Spade.

Where his meddling actually hurts the story is in the films somewhat standard climax. I have no idea why he would bother to change the stunning and unique ending that Block had already provided.

I'm not saying that the movie ends badly it's just that it could have easily been great except for the unnecessary edit.

Still this is a solid and gritty detective drama that stands significantly above most of the genre.

I won't spoil the ending for you but maybe in a few weeks I will let you know how the book ended.

B-

 

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