“A Walk Among the Tombstones”

This is something self just realized today, after watching “A Walk Among the Tombstones” — she likes Liam Neeson in action mode, she thinks it’s good he’s mostly in action mode these days, she just doesn’t like him as much in drama, even when he was in that Paul Haggis movie with Olivia Wilde earlier this year (“Third Person”), and she likes Liam’s action turn in “A Walk Among the Tombstones” better than Denzel’s in “The Equalizer.”

In fact, self would go as far as saying she thought the script of “A Walk Among the Tombstones” was a pretty smart script.  Even if just because it doesn’t seek to rise above its genre, it is a good movie (although generally she cringes at all scenes involving the degradation of women. So, there. Now you know what kind of criminals the movie deals with. The worst scene occurs early on: very poetically shot with tight close-ups. Ugh. So excruciating. The camera never blinks).

The casting of this movie is very smart. At a certain point during a chase scene, we are treated to a full-body shot (from the side) of Liam Neeson running. Wow, that guy runs with such intensity, it is wonderful to behold. She’d classify Neeson’s running right up there with Owen Wilson’s shamble.

Casting her mind back to “The Equalizer,” self finds that she has already completely forgotten what the movie was about (and she saw it less than a week ago). The only scene she remembers with any clarity is the one where Denzel ushers a pack of Asian women out of a factory where they have been processing illegal contraband, but does it as if he’s a Sunday-school teacher ushering out a pack of 12-year-olds. Like he’s not just handing each woman thick wads of cash. That was a good scene.

In both movies, the viewer is never in any doubt that the hero will prevail (Though self remembers seeing “The Grey,” which was possibly the worst downer of a Liam Neeson movie self ever remembers seeing). So it’s all the more worth it if the movie has flourishes that offer a few surprises. The acting, for instance. Which was across-the-board good in “A Walk Among the Tombstones.” (All self can really remember from “The Equalizer” is Denzel’s acting. Which is pretty much a given, come on. And don’t get her wrong: a movie full of Denzel is always welcome. But that’s ALL she can remember from “The Equalizer”)

The other thing self remembers thinking while watching Neeson is that George Lucas did him no favors by casting him as Obi-wan-Kenobi. As he also did no favors for Ewan MacGregor when he cast him as the young Obi-wan. As he also did no favors for Natalie Portman when . . .  ok, you get her drift.  It is a very, very fortuitous thing for Denzel that he made no appearances in a “Star Wars” movie.

The source material for “A Walk Among the Tombstones” is impeccable: the work of Lawrence Block, whose books self has read and enjoyed.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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