It's Time More People Discover This Gem
When Liam Neeson got a huge resurgence following Taken and it's sequels, it seemed like he was in so many copycats of the very film he made famous. And to be honest, some of them just aren't very good, which is probably why I avoided this one in particular. I don't remember the trailer, but I do know that the poster art gave me another Taken vibe.
But I remember a few years ago a fellow friend on Instagram had really talked this one up and I had never forgotten that. When I realized my dad actually owned this, I snatched it for a lazy day watch, and let me tell you, when that day finally came, I was pleasantly surprised at how strong and great this little film is.
For starters, it's not an action film.....at all. So the image of him holding a gun on the cover is a bit misleading and unnecessary. Yes he fires a gun in the film, but rarely. The reality is that this film is actually a detective thriller, more in line with the old private eye films that were so popular once upon a time. And that's one of the films many surprises.
One of the best things about this film is it's surprisingly strong cast. I won't get into the all of them and spoil it for you, but there were a lot of surprising faces in here, with Stranger Things and the Hellboy reboot's David Harbour being at the top of that list. But of course, none of that works unless you have somebody strong enough to carry the film and Liam Neeson is up to the challenge. In fact, it's effortless for him. You can say he's pretty much playing his character from Taken, just without the close combat fighting and gun battles, and it would be true. But he's just so damn good at it!
From it's very first frame, to it's last, AWAtT is a visual feast. Writer/director Frank Scott (Logan, Minority Report, Get Shorty) give the film a slick noir-ish, yet contemporary vibe that almost acts as a character on it's own. Either Scott did his homework, or he had this film planned out in his head from the beginning because it's one of those films that is just as visually stunning as it is gritty within the private eye genre. It's rare (these days anyway), where a filmmaker spends just as much time on the visual tone of the film as they do on the story. In that respect, AWAtT is a rare treat indeed.
Easily dismissed and all but forgotten, this one might surprise you if you're looking for something with style, substance and entertainment value. A sleek detective noir flick that gives Neeson plenty of opportunity to shine, and boy does he ever.