Release Date: February 28, 2014
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Writer: John W. Richardson, Christopher Roach, Ryan Engle
Cast: Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore, Lupita Nyong’o, Scoot McNairy, Michelle Dockery, Nate Parker, Corey Stoll, Omar Metwall, Jason Butler Harner, Linus Roache, Shea Whigham, Anson Mount
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 106 minutes
Studio: Universal Pictures, Studio Canal, Silver Pictures
Genre: Action, Mystery, Thriller
Language: English, German
Country: USA, France
It didn’t take much for me to get on board with this project. The trailer had me interested before it even finished. Place a new form of bad-ass named Liam Neeson on board a plane with weapons, tight hand to hand combat, and some form of hostage/terrorist take over and I’m sold. Non-stop is a mystery thriller that keeps you guessing and pins you to the edge of your seat. It contains top notch actors in supporting roles that can only compliment the whole picture. While some may say a few bits are unrealistic, in my opinion I didn’t care from the amount of fun I had. On another note, while it wasn’t perfect, I definitely wouldn’t mind repeat viewings to pick out plot points in case I missed them the first time around.
Imagine being on a plane with nowhere to go knowing death is inevitable every 20 minutes. Sounds like a migraine headache to me, but it sure is entertaining. Other film fans may complain about the large portion of the film taking place on an airplane. For a second, I wondered if it would be a problem and the notion of feeling claustrophobic. I want to start off by saying, if you were worried put those concerns by the wayside. When you have an entire film in such close quarters, in my opinion it’s all about the premise and camera work to bring black words on a page to life. Director Jaume Collet-Serra did a magnificent job here with shots of the plane showing the long journey ahead, and camera angles to tie up all the corridors and aisles of the plane. By doing this it really raised the stakes and the mystery of, “Who in the hell is our murderer and how are they accomplishing this?” It’s just a recipe for high quality entertainment.
So now Neeson is back as a washed up alcoholic air marshal, who reminisces on his past and all the possible mistakes he has made. What’s great is this isn’t spoon fed to us like we’re an infant. You could easily tell from his great acting and blank stares (great direction). His motivation to save everyone not only comes from the will for good, but to wash away any past sins he may have committed. He’s a great actor by far and while in his past few films he comes across as a king strategist badass, he does so here on the flip side of the coin. It’s a different perspective of someone who may have taken the wrong path in life but still have all the chops to do great things. He’s very aggressive when needs be and dominates the screen when present.
The supporting cast is a pleasure too. You would think with such names like Julianne Moore (Far from heaven) and Lupita Nyong’o (12 years a Slave) to name a couple, that they would be plastered all over the screen to hype up their celebrity status, but that wasn’t the case at all. They played small roles in a big picture that just kept you guessing to the end.
I do have minor complaint about the film being that after the mystery is revealed the characters motive for his actions in my opinion was extremely childish. I’m a bit shocked that they choose this route for the so called climax. It did ruin the film for me, but in it’s absence it could’ve been better. From the previews and trailers it’s obvious someone choose Neeson’s character to be their puppet, but the reason they choose his character was non-existent. I did hope for more and it’s difficult to write about it without spoiling anything.
All in all Non Stop was a ton of fun. The small amount of action in an enclosed plane was very entertaining. The plot kept me guessing until the very end. The camera work was great with the creative shots that were given and the supporting cast handled business. I’m not an airline pilot or studied aviation, but some maneuvers with the plane towards the end of the film did make me scratch my head. Though as I stated earlier if I began to scratch my head due to realism, I simply didn’t care because of all the fun I had.