Saturday, April 4, 2015


Written & Directed By: Scott Frank 
Based On The Novel By: Lawrence Block 
Cinematography By: Mihai Malaimare Jr. 
Editor: Jill Savitt 

Cast: Liam Neeson, Dan Stevens, David Harbour, Adam David Thompson, Brian Astro Bradlet, Mark Consuelos

Matt Scudder is a former cop now a private eye. He is asked by a drug dealer to find the men who kidnapped his wife. It seems like they killed her even after he paid them. Scudder refuses. But the man later goes to see him and tells him how his wife was killed. Scudder takes the job. He does some research and thinks the men he is looking for have done this more than once. And that everyone they grabbed is connected to a drug dealer. He was about to give up when they grab another girl and Scudder tries make sure she's returned alive.

The film offers no surprises. Everything feels predictable and while graphic feels like a TV-movie mystery or one that's a good page turner in book form, but in love action not so much.

The film feels disposable as it doesn't have any presence and is probably forgettable to most a few days after it is watched.

Other then Liam Neeson aka a star in the lead this film would not probably have been notable as it feels more like a star vehicle where everything revolves around them and offers no one else a chance to shine or really be a real character. This feels like the type of film where as other then it's sizeable budget could have easily gone straight to dvd.

I can say that while the film is a bit silly. I enjoyed the relationship between him and his teenage sidekick.

The film isn't as much of a mystery as things are presented pretty quickly before where time to wonder or question what has been presented.

There is a big plot point that supposedly was one of the reasons why it was so hard to get made over the years that the writer/director refused to budge on and though it is a major detail is treated lightly and just tossed out as a reveal ruin though supposedly is a major reveal.

Ruth Wilson was cast as Joe Durkin (who is a male character in the books) and filmed all of her scenes as Liam Neeson's partner. But the director felt that Neeson's character should be a loner so all of Wilson's scenes were cut.

Liam Neeson seems to play the same type of character no family around, no life, recovering alcoholic, no time for love or budding romance, his character is hard as nails and never seems to rest or need it and never goes home. This is nothing different as he still has the dead stare and treats everything more as an annoyance then it seems willfully engaging.

Any innocents either love after being punished to a degree or perish off-screen as anyone nasty or evil gets dispatched on screen even nice characters who make wrong or bad decisions get the same treatment.

Most of the characters he is around are drug dealers, addicts or low lives who are portrayed as sympathetic and played by European actors. Where as the minority characters who are not his sidekicks are mostly ruthless criminals who cameo with little to no humanity. I am not complaining just an observation. I guess as the villains are heartless here even any other law breakers will seem somewhat decent and sympathetic as they are human the villains are presented as such.

It seems more the typical Liam Neeson project not as much action as this is supposed to be a mystery, but leaves little to the imagination it's a thriller with few thrills.

You can tell that it strives for more then what it becomes. It boils down to a typical procedural that aspires to be more of a noir-ish tale. Though it feels too polished and big. Instead if smaller and organic.

Though it really doesn't take much for Neeson's character to get people to admit hints him and they all have perfect memories.

It's nice to see the film explore New York territories and neighborhoods to give the film some nice and original locations as well as giving it a loved in feeling.

Disappointing especially coming from Scott Frank director of THE LOOKOUT. Here it feels to overblown more as studio release rather than a smaller thriller. the writing feels truth, it's hair the film feels so downtrodden and in unenthusiastic.

Originally, this was supposed to be Joe Carnahan 's directorial follow up to his indie hit NARC. At that time, Harrison Ford was attached to star.

Not the typical Liam Neeson action film. The film attempts to have a certain style that could a bit more polishing bit at least a nice attempt. Second appearance of character Matt Scudder. The first time it was played by Jeff Bridges in 8 MILLION WAYS TO DIE, Here played by Liam Neeson

I just kept wondering. Now while none of the kidnapped victims deserved what happens to them they couldn't be as complacent and innocent as they are made to seem they know what their husbands/boyfriends were into.

The material is hardcore, yet never feels authentic.

Just as I wondered why such a prominent drug dealer lived in such a shabby apartment that can easily be spied upon and why if these guys were so successful in their endeavors they didn't have enough money to stop? I can understand the compulsion was an excitement and keeps the film going. It just made me question too much.


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