Think you’re forty thousand feet above the law? Think again! Hello moviegoers, Liam Neeson continues to add to his growing filmography as the rather effective action hero in ‘Non-Stop’. This time Neeson plays Bill Marks an alcoholic US Air Marshall with a lot on his mind who needs a good luck charm to get him through takeoffs.
Director Jaume Collet- Serra wastes little time building the tension and suspense. The skies are overcast; it’s rainy and gloomy. There’s uncertainty. When we see Bill Marks for the first time he conveys a similar message. He’s a little disheveled and looks tired. He should probably be sleeping in but instead he’s having a drink prior to boarding a transatlantic flight, or should I say prior to going to work.
‘Non-Stop’ (2 ½ sweet potatoes out of four) Stars: Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore, Lupita Nyong’o, Scoot McNairy, Michelle Dockery, Nate Parker, Corey Stoll; Director: Jaume Collet-Serra ; Genre: Suspense Thriller; Rated: PG-13; Runtime: 110 minutes; Opens: Friday, February 28th 2014.
Conspicuous stares in the terminal and slight agitation while going through security incrementally heightens the suspense prior to boarding. Now, if you’re the passenger you probably can’t wait to get out over the ocean to relax a little. But the introduction of Jen Summers, Julianne Moore’s brilliant turn as a nagging business woman who has to have a window seat made me think-out-loud “these guys are going to break this airplane in half”.
Midflight Marks receives a text message over a secure network instructing him to have 150 million dollars wired to an account or someone will die every 20 minutes until he does so. When the first dead body turns up, the stakes quickly rise to the level of international crisis making everyone onboard a suspect including Marks’ would-be allies Jen Summers (Moore) and lead flight attendant Nancy who’s played by (Michelle Dockery).
Bill Marks is now in a fast evolving situation as the clock continues to count down. He discovers a bomb onboard, and it’s not long before they are being escorted by a couple of ‘Scorpion’ fighter jets. When the pilot tells Marks that the account number for the money transfer is in his name, it becomes clear to him that he’s being framed for hijacking the plane. He tries to investigate discreetly but the increased activity alerts the other passengers which encompasses the Central Casting lineup of stereotypes.
Marks has the network left open so he can keep the killer communicating. This introduces the element of social media which highlights, in more ways than one, its impact when a young passenger is able to upload video of Marks roughing up another passenger to the internet. Already convicted in the media, Marks and the passengers witness on inflight monitors the telling of his story, the tragedy of his life and the questioning of his loyalties.
Yeah the movie is implausible and plays to formula for the most part, but with Neeson’s rugged authenticity and a mystery killer whose motives remain unclear lurking among an increasingly agitated group of passengers, the drama and the action which includes one of the best fight scenes you will see any where entertains to the very end. I give ‘Non-Stop’ 2 ½ sweet potatoes out of four.
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