Vafa Motamedi reviews
Liam Neeson’s bizarre journey from respected dramatic actor to full blown action star continues here in this overblown and frankly barking mad film about air marshal, Bill Marks who is informed by a mysterious killer that someone on his plane will die every twenty minutes unless they are paid $150 million dollars. Marks must root out the killer before it is too late but as a grieving alcoholic (yawn) is he up to the job? And is there something else bigger at work?
Non-Stop, as if you didn’t know already, is stupid. The film is riddled with clichés and contrivances, before devolving into an absolutely barmy climax that is completely at odds with the previous 80 minutes. The big reveal of the killer is stupid beyond all forms of expression and feels like a wild stab at political commentary at the centre of a big dumb Liam Neeson thriller. The killer’s motive is so nonsensical and confusing it makes Inception look like Balamory. And if you’re going to hinge your mystery around such a trite conclusion at least have the decency to build up to it first.
Though it features a strong cast, including Julianne Moore, Michelle Dockery, Scoot McNairy and Lupita Nyong’o (who I imagine will be scrubbing this film off her C.V post-Oscar win), they are all criminally wasted on one dimensional clichés that revolve around Liam Neeson’s two dimensional walking gruff machine. Neeson appears to be in the midst of a mid-life crisis with an inexplicable desire to throw in actual acting for growling in a barely passable American accent and then breaking peoples’ noses. It is slightly saddening to see such an impressive and charismatic actor slumming it with this kind of material but if he’s happy to just take the cheque then more power to him.
Despite all this (and to the intense shame of this reviewer) Non-Stop is oddly enjoyable. Neeson is always an engaging screen presence no matter how much bilge he’s spouting. The direction is workmanlike but never plodding and the film maintains a steady pace whilst remaining consistently tense and thrilling, which is more than can be said for a lot of thrillers being made today. Though this can’t redeem the utter idiocy of the plot, it does make for a perversely entertaining 106 minutes, which fly by quicker than you’d think
Imagine Airplane but ridiculously po-faced and with Leslie Nielsen punching people. If that tickles your fancy (and why wouldn’t it?) then go and have a watch. Just make sure to leave your brain as far away from the cinema as possible.
Five out of Ten