[pullquote cite=”” type=”left, right”][amazon text=Amazon&template=carousel&chan=That Film Guy&asin=B00IIK6CC4][/pullquote] Ever since Taken back in 2008, Liam Neeson has cemented himself as a seriously credible action leading man. Combine his voice, quiet intimidation, and his whole general demeanour, you get less of a screaming, muscle-bound John Rambo type and more of a calculating, intelligent, experienced, and tough action hero. Despite some missteps with Unknown and Taken 2, Neeson still manages to keep his new-found reputation as a bad-ass-to-be-reckoned with intact. With his new film, Non-Stop, he goes for a more suspense-thriller feel than an outright action flick, and it pays off well.
Neeson plays US Air Marshal Bill Marks, who from the opening scenes we see is an alcoholic, a smoker, and generally someone who has a lot of personal baggage. Upon boarding his latest flight, he meets Jen Summers (Julianne Moore), a fellow passenger who comforts him as he struggles with the plane taking off. Everything appears to be fine, but he gets a text on his secure network saying that someone on the plane will die every twenty minutes unless he transfers $150 million into a specified bank account. When the account number is seen as being in Marks’ name, however, things start to spiral out of control as Marks tries to discover the identity of the person sending the texts whilst also trying to convince everyone that he is not trying to hijack the plane.
Now, Non-Stop is not a great movie. You don’t notice it so much while viewing it, but further thought about the plot makes it abundantly clear that it makes no sense whatsoever. When it’s finally revealed who the perpetrators are, there are far, far too many contrivances and things that hung on complete conveniences that they could not have possibly planned for. Plane thrillers seem to have this problem a lot, with both Flightplan and Red Eye also having storylines that completely fell apart the minute you started actually thinking about them. However, despite all the horrible things I’m saying about it, Non-Stop is still a film well worth seeing.
The reason for this can be rested on Neeson’s shoulders. His conviction in the part of Bill Marks is admirable, as it could easily have just been a throw-away part that he put no effort into and was just there for the paycheck. Neeson overcomes the sub-par writing with his natural screen charisma, and you begin to not even notice the plot holes. The film’s positives are not just because of Neeson, though. French director Jaume Collet-Serra has improved drastically since Unknown, and the direction and cinematography is tight and suspenseful, drawing you in and hooking you throughout the running time.