A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The movie's world is grim and hopeless -- one in which even good people end up doing bad things from time to time.
Positive Role Models
Matthew Scudder is a recovering alcoholic who's eight years sober. He helps out a homeless kid by teaching him a few lessons and buying him food and clothes. He regularly attends AA meetings and seems interested in doing the right thing, though he doesn't always succeed; his violent profession sometimes gets the better of him.
Violence & Scariness
A pair of kidnappers abducts two women and a 14-year-old girl. One of the women is shown gagged during the opening credits. In another sequence, the men threaten to slice off one of the woman's breasts (making her choose which one). One woman is chopped into pieces and put into little bags. The girl's fingers are chopped off. Several chases, shoot outs, and fights. The killers use wire around the neck to strangle victims. Plenty of blood is shown. A man commits suicide by jumping from the roof of a building. A young girl is accidentally shot, and a young boy is beaten up.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
The killers rip open a woman's clothes, and her breasts are briefly shown. One character has a selection of paintings of naked (topless) women on his wall. A man has a collection of photos taken of a coupe having sex in an apartment across the street; no sensitive body parts are shown.
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"F--k" and "s--t" are used several times. "Bitch" is used.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
The main character is a recovering alcoholic. In a flashback, he's seen drinking shots in a bar. But in the main story, he's sober and goes to AA meetings. Another character is a drug addict and is seen smoking cigarettes.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that A Walk Among the Tombstones is a crime thriller starring Liam Neeson as private investigator Matthew Scudder (a character previously played by Jeff Bridges in 1986's 8 Million Ways to Die). There's lots of gritty violence, including shoot outs, fighting, and blood. Women and teens are kidnapped and terrorized (one is threatened with having one of her breasts sliced off). A boy is beaten up, a young girl is shot, and another young girl is kidnapped. The kidnappers have gruesome ways of disposing with bodies, including chopping one up into bits. Language is strong, including several uses of "f--k" and "s--t." The main character is a recovering alcoholic, eight years sober, who attends AA meetings; he's shown drinking in a flashback. Another major character is a drug addict who smokes cigarettes. Sex is seen in a set of photographs, and topless women are shown in paintings, but there's nothing involving the major characters. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Screenwriter Scott Frank tells the story with enthusiasm and skill. Frank has made a career of adapting crime novels and thrillers by Elmore Leonard, Philip K. Dick, and James Lee Burke for the screen. He wrote an excellent original thriller and made his directorial debut with The Lookout; A WALK AMONG THE TOMBSTONES, adapted from a Lawrence Block novel, is his follow-up. Like a good crime novelist, Frank doesn't necessarily bring anything new to the genre, but he gives it a fresh presentation.
He captures a fine big-city feel with grungy shops and stairwells, as well as luckier, fancier places. Characters flit in and out of the story with the sense that they have lived lives here. Even the standard "cute kid" character of T.J. is handled like an everyday occurrence. Set in 1999, the story includes references to the paranoia of the Y2K computer "virus." The overall sense of dread and rage is strong, even if the movie is too long to be terribly suspenseful.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.