Synopsis: An air marshal springs into action during a transatlantic flight after receiving a series of text messages that put his fellow passengers at risk unless the airline transfers $150 million into an off-shore account.
Stars: Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore, Nate Parker, Michelle Dockery, Scoot McNairy, Lupita Nyong’o, Linus Roache, Corey Stoll
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Running Length: 106 minutes
Trailer Review: Here
TMMM Score: (6/10)
Review: I’m that weird duck traveler that loves to head off for an adventure but dreads the flight that will take me to my destination. I don’t know why I have this irrational fear of flying and though I’m not someone that white knuckles it from wheels up to wheels down let’s just say that the sooner I’m back on solid ground the better.
All that aside, can I just tell you how much I enjoy a thriller that involves any sort of in-flight dilemma? I’m sure the root of some of my fears has come from seeing various maladies befall passengers in the Airport films and the hostile takeovers of Flightplan, Executive Decision, Passenger 57, Turbulence, et. al. Though flying is the safest way to travel it can be the most dangerous when you toss in an action star like Liam Neeson looking for a killer on a transatlantic flight.
Let’s get this straight…Non-Stop is exactly the quality of film that you think it is. It’s all muscle with little logic available to explain away large leaps of faith that it asks the audience to just go with. And y’know what…for the most part it works well as a short fused thrill ride that gets you cruising along nicely up at 40,000 feet before encountering some midflight turbulence in anticipation of a watery landing.
Neeson (The Grey, The LEGO Movie) doesn’t have to stretch much to play a weary air marshal first class-ing it on a plane bound for London. The film opens by letting us know there’s more than a few red herrings that will be joining him as each person he passes in the airport somehow manages to turn slllloooowwwlllly around with a grimace on their face. For all we know, the entire plane is full of psychopaths.
Though he’s seated next to a kinda quirky kinda mysterious female (Julianne Moore, Carrie) and doted on by a lovely trolley dolly (Michelle Dockery, showing she’s capable of more than merely looking glum on Downton Abbey) his attention turns to the mysterious in-flight texts he receives from a passenger threatening to trim the flight manifest every twenty minutes until a payload of 150 million dollars is delivered…to a bank account in Neeson’s name.
So begins an in flight cat and mouse game that gets less interesting the more implausible it gets. Non-Stop shows early promise with its slow burn first half but winds up flaming out long before the end is near. And that’s too bad because had it capitalized more on the Hitchcockian mystery it aspired to it may have been a film that would be worth repeat viewings.
Director Jaume Collet-Serra has been behind the camera for several flawed but interesting thrillers in his short career. After the guilty pleasure House of Wax he scored nicely with the creep-fest Orphan before scaring us even more by casting the awful January Jones alongside Neeson in the marginal Unknown. Non-Stop is more middle of the road work and wind up being best known for wasting 12 Years a Slave star Lupita Nyong’o in a throwaway role – though she does rock some serious Fresh Price of Bel Air meets Grace Jones afro realness.
If you’re willing to check your logic in the overhead bin and keep your rolled eyes in the upright position, Non-Stop is harmless entertainment.