Newest Neeson Movie is Non-Stop Excitement
- Susan Ellingburg Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2014 2 Feb
DVD Release Date: June 10, 2014
Theatrical Release Date: February 28, 2014
Rating: PG-13 (intense sequences of action and violence, some language, sensuality and drug references)
Genre: Action, Mystery, Thriller
Run Time: 107 minutes
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Cast: Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore, Michelle Dockery, Nate Parker, Scoot McNairy, Corey Stoll, Lupita Nyong'o
Having a bad day at work? Imagine being an air marshal who hates to fly. That's the plight of Bill Parks (Liam Neeson, Taken), a tired, overworked, alcoholic who just wants to get safely to London and home again. It's all pretty routine until halfway through the flight when Bill gets a text on his secure air marshal phone that nobody but authorized personnel should be able to access. The sender promises that someone on the plane will die unless $150 million is transferred to a bank account within the next 20 minutes. And... we’re off! Non-Stop refers to more than just the flight; this deftly-plotted, action-packed mystery thriller will keep viewers guessing right up to the end.
Bill has to find the perp, stop the killing, save the passengers, and convince his bosses he's not behind the whole thing, all while trapped in an airplane high above the Atlantic Ocean. Clearly, he's going to need some help. Fortunately, plucky flight attendant Nancy (Michelle Dockery, Anna Karenina) is also working this flight and, unlike Bill's boss, she's inclined to trust him. After that first flash of recognition you'll forget all about Downton Abbey's Lady Mary and enjoy Nancy's nervous determination to help Bill catch the baddies.
Also drafted in to help is Jen (Julianne Moore, Don Jon), a chatty passenger who is clearly above suspicion. Or is she? One of the joys of this film is all the delicious “he did it…no, she did it…no, he totally did it…no, wait…” back and forth-ing. It’s not quite Agatha Christie but it’s delightfully close. For all we know, Bill really is the bad guy. He looks like he’s being set up, but is that just some kind of elaborate plan? It’s the kind of movie where anything is possible. As the tension builds, the body count rises and the pace quickens, keeping viewers glued to the screen until the final explosive ending.
Liam Neeson is, well, Liam Neeson. He’s got enough wear on him to fit comfortably into the flawed, disappointed character of a man who may be self-destructive but still cares enough to do whatever it takes to save the lives of the passengers he’s sworn to protect. It doesn’t hurt that he still has enough roguish charm that even when he’s behaving badly he’s fascinating to watch.
Julianne Moore strikes just the right note as Jen; she's charming enough to be a good sounding board for Bill, but you're never quite sure if she's really what she seems. The passenger list is full of interesting characters—each one a potential terrorist—who may take matters into their own hands before the flight is over.
There's plenty of fighting and some of it gets pretty vicious but the camera doesn't linger on anything too repulsive for too long. While some of the action may be a little over the top—like snatching a gun as it floats off the floor after cabin pressure is compromised—it's such a great move in the moment that who cares? Reality is so overrated, especially when there's a hero at work.
Kudos to the team of writers (John W. Richardson, Chris Roach and Ryan Engle) who managed to craft a script that does not feel like it was created by committee. They even avoided using cheesy one-liners for comic relief; there is humor to break the tension but it’s situational rather than silly (I like the Die Hard franchise too, but all those wry comments have become cliché).
From the first hazy moments shrouded in a faint sense of impending doom to the final resolution, this is a thinking person’s action movie. The only downside to Non-Stop is that you may think twice before booking your next flight.
CAUTIONS (may contain spoilers):
- Drugs/Alcohol: Several characters drink (one is an alcoholic); a cache of drugs is shown. A man smokes cigarettes both on and off the airplane
- Language/Profanity: Profanity is scattered throughout but it’s not thick. All the usual terms are used: sh** (sometimes defined as “bull…”), da** (sometimes paired with God), di**, a**hole, the f-bomb, and wanker (a rude British term)
- Sex/Nudity: A couple has sex on the airplane (covered by a blanket). It's not explicit, but it is obvious what they're up to
- Violent/Frightening/Intense: The whole movie is pretty intense, but in a good “thriller” kind of way, as the plot hinges on an airplane full of people in peril. Several people are murdered; a number of scenes of violent hand-to-hand fighting (some to the death). The plane is itself at risk; there are explosions, bullets fly, and we see several people shot
Publication date: February 28, 2014