Non-Stop Neeson – A review of Non-Stop

Julianne Moore and Liam Neeson star in Non-Stop, a thriller about a hijacking aboard a transoceanic airliner.
Julianne Moore and Liam Neeson star in Non-Stop, a thriller about a hijacking aboard a transoceanic airliner.

Title: Non-Stop

Production Company: StudioCanal

Run Time: 106 minutes

Rated: PG-13

Director: Jaume Collet-Serra

Stars: Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore, Scoot McNairy, Michelle Dockery, Lupita Nyong’o

4 stars for Non-Stop

Summary: I love action movies set within confined spaces. It leaves the characters with no place to go and audiences on the edge of their collective seats. Throw in Liam Neeson for the ride and we’re off to the races.

Liam Neeson has always been a credible action star and recent movies like Taken and Non-Stop continue to prove that premise time and again.

Here, Neeson plays a washed up Federal Air Marshal who finds himself in the midst of a mid air murder mystery where the twists are more convoluted than the turns.

Shortly after take off, the burnt out Bill Marks (Neeson) receives a text message that threatens to take the life of a passenger every twenty minutes unless a substantial sum of money is wired into an offshore account.

The first twist comes when investigators discover that the account is in Marks’ name. Convincingly, though, we want to trust Marks when he insists that it isn’t him who is hijacking the flight.

Or is he?

You see, unlike his character in Taken, we don’t know if we should trust Marks, especially after the first body turns up and we learn who killed the guy. Even more convincingly, when other bodies turn up and fingers start pointing, they’re aimed at our burnt out and embattled hero.

In that respect, I find myself harkening back to some of the best Hitchcockian story telling where not everything you see is exactly as it appears. I won’t say anymore about the plot, though, since to reveal anything more would be to spoil the outcome.

It’s a cardinal sin for a movie critic to spoil the dénouement. I prefer not to be flogged by wet noodles six ways from Sunday.

It is intriguing to note that Neeson’s characters in both Taken (Brian Mills) and Non-Stop (Bill Marks) share their initials with this movie critic (Bernie, the Movie guy). That alone should convince you that it’s worth seeing.

But I digress.

Julianne Moore, who plays a passenger who sides with and assists Mills in uncovering the plot, is nearly wasted here, but somehow I wouldn’t be surprised if we see both of these characters pop up in a future endeavor together.

The two flight attendants are also caught in the middle of the situation. Even though they know Mills is a Marshall, neither know him well enough to convincingly accept that he may be on the up and up.

Lupita Nyong’o (who just won an Academy Award for 12 Years a Slave) and Michelle Dockery are pretty much just eye candy along for the ride.

The one element I found disturbing and unnerving is how quickly the forces on the ground are willing to accept the possibility that an Air Marshall, who has been presumably thoroughly background checked, is dismissed as being a loose cannon.

One would hope that the men and women who do this sort of work in real life and who are, in essence, the only passengers allowed to carry guns on flights are better trusted than the ones we meet here.

But even with that caveat, this is still a much more entertaining movie than most of the drivel that tends to surface during the March release cycle. If Neeson is the King of the spring film schedule then I say Long Live this King…at least as long as they keep casting him with roles that have the initials BM.

I give Non-Stop 4 out of 5 stars.

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