Thriller. Starring Liam Neeson, Dan Stevens, David Harbour, Sebastian Roche, Brian ‘Astro’ Bradley. Directed by Scott Frank. Cert 16
Director Frank has form when it comes to adapting crime novels, penning the screenplays for Out of Sight and Get Shorty, and here he takes on a Lawrence Block story with mixed results. Neeson is perfectly cast as Matt Scudder, an ex-cop who once accidentally killed a young girl while drunkenly dealing with a hold-up and now works off the books as a private investigator who’s paid in ‘gifts’.
Approached by Kenny Kristo (Stevens, leaving Downton Abbey in his dust by the week, it seems), a drug dealer whose wife was kidnapped and then murdered after he’d paid the ransom, Scudder is tasked with finding the same gang after they’ve taken another criminal’s child. Neeson uses his ragged charm to great effect in a film that looks suitably dingy to match the subject matter.
Back in the '90s Liam Neeson was working with Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg and starring in such weighty dramas as Michael Collins and Schindler's List. But surviving as an A-list movie star is hard and, over the last six years or so, Neeson has successfully re-marketed himself as a grizzled action hero.