Tuesday, March 04, 2014


Year: 2014
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Cast: Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore, Michelle Dockery, Anson Mount, Scoot McNairy, Nate Parker, Jason Butler Harner, Corey Stoll, Omar Metwally, Linus Roache

Plot: While on a flight from New York to London, an air marshal receives a text message from an unknown passenger on board that he/she will kill someone in 20 minutes unless $150 million is transferred to an offshore account. The marshal has to find this person before more people get killed.

Review: Liam Neeson, director Jaume Collet-Serra and producer Joel Silver reunite after giving action fans a solid thriller called Unknown a few years back. Like that film, Non-Stop centres on a mystery that needs solving, with a slightly higher sense of urgency.

Neeson is Bill Marks, an air marshal who ironically hates flying and has his own personal demons to deal with. During a flight from New York to London, he gets text messages from one of the passengers who says that he/she will kill someone on the plane every 20 minutes unless Bill finds a way to transfer $150 million to an offshore account. As Bill tries to find the passenger behind this, people start dying and the culprit continues to elude him. To make matters worse, Bill's actions start to unsettle the passengers who eventually think he's a hijacker.

Collet-Serra, directing a script by John W Richardson, Christopher Roach and Ryan Engel, successfully keeps the audience guessing as to who the hijacker is. We learn at the same time with Bill as to everything he discovers, and every twist and turn puts the viewer back at square one quite often. Some of you may find this tiresome, but I thought it was cool being confused an unsure as the story moved along.

The action only truly kicks in in the final third of the film, though there is a well filmed fight scene in a plane lavatory that deserves mention. In my opinion, this film is like watching Jodie Foster's Flightplan, which becomes Passenger 57 as it enters its climax. Even with those similarities, Non-Stop is more entertaining than not.

Neeson is of course the perfect choice to be the film's hero. If you've seen him in Taken and Unknown, you'd know there's no one else that can do it like him. Julianne Moore plays a passenger that Bill relies on (and at some point suspects) in finding the hijacker, and she makes a great team with him, even if her character isn't totally likable at times. The supporting cast playing the other passengers are all great too, as well as the ones in the roles of stewardesses; Michelle Dockery and recent Oscar winner Lupita Nyong'o, though the former is given more camera time than the latter.

The film does fall into certain cliches at times, like the hijacker's reasons for doing this besides the money, and Bill's tragic past which I felt wasn't wholly necessary to be revealed. But it isn't enough to ruin this reviewer's enjoyment.

It's a solid action thriller that keeps the viewers guessing and glued to the end. Recommended. (4/5) 

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