U.S. Release Date: 9/19/14
When it comes to hunting down and killing bad guys, Liam Neeson has a ton of experience under his belt.
Now he’s at it again.
A Walk Among the Tombstones, based on Lawrence Block’s novel of the same name, stars Neeson as Matt Scudder, an ex New York cop turned private investigator, who agrees to help heroin dealer Kenny Cristo (Dan Stevens) track down and kill the men who murdered his wife.
The tale is actually the tenth Scudder adventure. In all, Block has hammered out 17 novels and one book of short stories revolving around the recovering alcoholic.
Scott Frank, who wrote and directed the film, loved the story about an ex-cop who juggles his struggles with sobriety and the results of previous actions.
“Part of me had always wanted to do a classic private eye movie, and I liked the very dark element to this book,” says the filmmaker. “There wasn’t just a mystery; there was something frightening about it. The main character was as afraid as anybody else.”
In a nutshell, Scudder is a private detective for people who cannot go to the cops as a result of their previous criminal dealings. Instead, he special favours for people, and they buy him gifts in return.
“We meet a drug trafficker who lives in Brooklyn and is trying to lead a quiet, hidden life when his wife is kidnapped, then killed after he pays the ransom,” says Frank. “The dealer hires Scudder to find the men who did it and bring them to him so that he can exact his revenge.”
For Neeson the screenplay was enveloped by the same type of bleakness that he had discovered in Scandinavian fiction.
“I am attracted to characters who are loners and who operate by themselves. There’s something mysterious and manly and stoic about them. Scudder is very much a loner. He’s a broken man in many ways, and yet there’s a moral fiber and a dignity that he has from his years of police service with the NYPD…and also from AA.”
“Liam brought that weight to him, and that helped Scudder not just become an action figure or a superhero. He’s afraid and even overwhelmed in this story, and that makes for a much more interesting character.”
Studio: Universal Pictures
Director: Scott Frank
Stars: Dan Stevens, David Harbour and Boyd Holbrook
Screenwriters: Scott Frank. Based on the novel by Lawrence Block
Producers: Danny DeVito, Michael Shamberg, Stacey Sher, Brian Oliver and Torbin Armbrust
Source: Universal Pictures