Silver Pictures, US
UK Release: 28th February 2014
Director Jaume Collet-Serra
Producer Alex Heineman, Andrew Rona, Joel Silver
Screenwriter John W. Richardson, Christopher Roach, Ryan Engle
Cinematographer Flavio Labiano
Cast Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore, Scott McNairy, Michelle Dockery, Corey Stoll, Lupita Nyong’o
Lets not take this film too seriously, if one was to do that they may break down and end up looking like Cate Blanchet did at the end of Blue Jasmine.
Liam Neeson teams up once again with Jaume Collet-Serra to play a grizzly, alcoholic, divorced, troubled and killing machine veteran. In this movie, he is also federal air marshal on a business class transatlantic flight. What is remarkable about Neeson’s performance in recent roles is that he manages to play it straight all the way through even as the events around him become drastically implausible. The audience will laugh aloud as Non-Stop ticks of its checklist of clichés. Is this necessarily a bad thing? It wouldn’t appear that way if we place ourselves in the seats of a mass audience after a virtual ride of entertainment.
The varied and actually rather interesting ensemble cast keeps us guessing as to whether they are good or bad guys. Playing the flight attendants we have Lupita Nyong’o, Oscar winner for 12 Years a Slave, who has about three throwaway lines of “What is going on?” and Michelle Dockery, our fantastic Lady Mary from Downtown Abbey. Among the passengers, Julianne Moore plays Bill’s (Neeson) seatmate as a relatively suspicious lady who becomes a female obstacle of wonder for Bill by the end. Corey Stoll from House of Cards plays a New York cop who is the first to take real test amongst Bill’s actions, though, of course, in the end they salute in brotherhood as fellow men of the law.
Liam Neeson provides the comedic relief in this movie. He is emotionally troubled as always and uses this emotion to fuel his brutal hand-to-hand combat in toilet cubicles and tight aisle spaces. We know everyone who tries to mess with him is making a big mistake, if only they had seen him take on the pack of wolves in The Gray and the callous villains in Taken.
The screenplay, written by a bunch of guys, has a few slapdash twists and a few touches of sentimentality amidst the fists and thrills. In light of modern technology, a boy on the flight is able to video Bill acting violently towards a passenger and post it online to a viral reception, which in turn stirs news reporters to broadcast the event and consequently alert the flight passengers on their TVs. Technology isn’t on Bills side here. Bill has also recently lost his daughter, at which point some of us may confuse what film we are watching, and consequently acts excessively mawkish towards the young girl who happens to be all alone on this flight.
So, this is yet another hijack movie in which the pay-off is frankly preposterous, but in which there are occasional heightened moments of action. It doesn’t match up to Air Force One or Con Air, but it does nevertheless have a powerful statement behind it. Lets just say it reaches for some sharp post 9/11 political commentary that entirely exceeds its grasp and becomes utterly excruciating.
I am not one myself for flying, but even if you are, certainly do not watch this film on a transatlantic flight.
It is an okay terrible film. 2 stars
Watch the trailer below: