Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Principle Cast: Liam Neeson, Michelle Dockery, Scoot McNairy, Nate Parker and Julianne Moore
Rated: ’PG-13′ for intense sequences of action and violence, some language, sensuality and drug references
Since Taken graced the silver screen a few years back, it’s become brutally clear to me that Liam Neeson is now the face of old-man action. If you’re thinking “What does that mean?” that’s because I just coined the phrase. Old-man action refers to movies featuring an old man, with a gun, that’s thrown into an impossibly violent, often unbelievable, situation in which he must get out completely and totally unscathed.
Bill Marks (Neeson) is a U.S. Federal Air Marshall aboard a non-stop flight from New York to London. He’s also an alcoholic, who doesn’t hide it very well, with a traumatic past. In midair, while crossing over the Atlantic, Marks starts to receive text messages from an unknown source.
The source appears to know him, as it reveals information about his past. It’s also threatening to kill someone on board the plane every 20 minutes unless Marks transfers $150 million into a bank account that’s, get this, in his name. When his employer, the media, the passengers and the crew members all become convinced it’s Marks who’s really hijacked the plane, he’ll face an uphill battle to keep everyone safe and bring down the source.
Non-Stop is a wild, innovative action thriller that’ll keep you guessing from start to stop. And with Marks’ cellphone a major co-star, the movie would often display the text messages he received and sent right up on the screen. I found myself really liking this because it not only felt fresh but, I thought, was a clever device to get us, the audience, sucked into the moment. I sometimes felt like I was on that plane and it was intense.
It’s directed by Jaume Collet-Serra who also brought us Unknown, another old-man action vehicle starring Neeson. Not as spellbinding as it’s predecessor, Non-Stop still contained a healthy amount of twists. It also contained several cameos from big actors like Anson Mount, of Hell on Wheels fame, Shea Whigham, from Boardwalk Empire, and Lupita Nyong’o who might look familiar if you saw 12 Years a Slave.
The only drawbacks to the film, which were few in number, would be the lack of Julianne Moore and a silly ending. Because she was being played off as mysterious the whole time (i.e. she might be the bad guy) Moore was hardly used. And that’s a damn shame, as she’s one of Hollywood’s finest actresses to date. The ending, while it had a message, felt rushed, forced and didn’t quite fit with the movie’s flow up to that point. I’m calling it silly, which is, I know, probably the wrong adjective to use once you know what the movie is actually about. So hopefully I’m not offending anyone.
See this movie. It’s the first great thriller of the year that’s, I think, accessible to just about everyone. Well, maybe not those who are deathly afraid of flying. Yeah.. I guess what I’m saying is don’t watch this movie if you’re on on vacation. Because you may not be so inclined to fly home afterward.
9/10 – Amazing