Review: NON-STOP (2014) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Review: NON-STOP (2014)

Liam Neeson is typically engaging in this tense but mostly bumpy thriller.

When Liam Neeson and director Jaume Collet-Serra first collaborated together, the result was the financially successful but disappointing Hitchcockian-like thriller, UNKNOWN in 2011. Three years later, they reunites with another Hitchcockian-like thriller titled as NON-STOP. The good news is, their second collaboration is significantly improved than their previous effort. But the sad thing is, Jaume Collet-Serra still have a long way to go to establish himself as an accomplished filmmaker specialized in whodunit and suspense.

U.S. Federal Air Marshal Bill Marks (Liam Neeson) is an alcoholic who has a tough time dealing with his daughter's death. When he boards the Aqualantic Airlines flight from New York to London, he soon finds himself received anonymous text messages. Apparently the message stated that a passenger on the flight will be killed every 20 minutes until $150 million is wired into a certain bank account. Sensing something might go wrong, he tries to identify the mysterious sender with the help of a friendly stranger named Jen (Julianne Moore) who sits next to him as well as flight attendant Nancy (Michelle Dockery). However, things go out of hand when Marks himself becomes a suspect of the hijacking plan.

The setup is rock-solid, while Jaume Collet-Serra make good use of the confined setting in the airplane to stage a series of claustrophobic thrills. Working from a tense screenplay by John W. Richardson, Chris Roach and Ryan Eagle, the "guess-the-mysterious-sender" whodunit is engaging enough to keep you hooked throughout the movie. It certainly helps when Liam Neeson commands the screen front and center as usual. Despite pushing the age of 61, Neeson remains an engaging presence to watch for.
The claustrophobic fight scene in the cramped toilet space is particularly a rousing experience.
Despite Neeson's top-notch performance, the rest of the supporting actors are disappointingly mediocre. It's such a waste to see talented actor like Julianne Moore is neglected into an underwritten character.

And then there's the revelation once the third act takes place. It's especially disappointing to see all the time that we invested for a satisfying payoff ends up to be a cop-out. When the bad guy is finally revealed his true self and even explained his long-winded motives, the movie quickly loses steam.

Overall, NON-STOP is quite an engaging cinematic experience as long as you don't expect too much.

1 comment:

Dan O. said...

It's not a very smart movie, but it is fun for what it is. Good review Casey.