Published on February 28th, 2014 | by gareth0
Bill Marks (Liam Neeson) is a man with demons. After his daughter fell seriously ill, the former New York police officer began a long descent into alcoholism and emotional distress. His fall was so great; Bill ended up losing his job and fortunately was able to find work as an Air Marshall providing in flight security for commercial routes.
In the new film Non-Stop, Bill is about to take a trans-Atlantic flight to London, and despite his dislike of flying and desire not to have a three day layover in London, reports for duty.
To say Bill is on edge would be an understatement as not only does he top off his coffee with a shot of spirits, he disables the airline smoke alarms so he can sneak a smoke to help calm himself and gather his thoughts.
Despite his issues, Bill is committed to his job and reports for duty and finds himself seated next to a charismatic lady named Jen (Julianne Moore), after she swaps seats with a passenger. Jen is a frequent traveler and noting that Bill seems on edge during takeoff, does her best to help calm him which Bill says will happen once they are airborne as he dislikes take offs.
True to his word, Bill is alert and ready to do his job once the plane is leveled off and en route to London. When a mysterious text arrives telling Bill that unless he deposits 150 million into an account, a passenger will be killed every twenty minutes, Bill swings into action and is determined to get to the bottom of the threat.
The flight crew is eager to put it off as a hoax as they state that a person cannot kill people on a crowded flight without being seen and it is likely just an elaborate hoax. Not convinced, Bill begins to investigate and asks for the passenger manifest to be rechecked and wants the account number he was given traced.
With the first deadline approaching Bill believes he has eliminated the threat when he uncovers a traitor in the midst in the guise of a fellow Air Marshall.
However text messages continue to arrive with instructions and Bill learns from his superiors that the account number given is in Bill’s name. Convinced that there is a viable threat Bill must fight to save the day when the crew, his bosses, and passengers believe he is deranged and actually hijacking the plane himself via an elaborate ruse.
While the film at times stretches credibility, it is for the most part a very tight and suspenseful and enjoyable film. My only issues were the final act at times seemed a bit to Hollywood and conventional for me but thanks to Neeson the film works.
The premise was engaging as was the cast and I was kept guessing as to the true nature of the threat as the film was good at casting suspicions then redirecting them throughout.
Like with the “Taken” films, Neeson is able to take a film that could be a mess in the hands of another actor but through his charisma and strong presence is able to give a character that although flawed is one that an audience can support.
French director Jaume Collet-Serra knows suspense from his part work with films such as “Orphan” and “Mindscape” and he wisely lets the film be a character driven story with action rather than an action film that happens to have characters.
As I said earlier, the final act was what kept the film from being a classic for me, but as it is, there is still plenty of good stuff to make this a film worth catching.