Non-Stop

Film
3 out of 5 stars
Non-Stop

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

Bill Marks (Liam Neeson) cuts a pitiable figure in this delightfully trashy thriller: three-day stubble, dishevelled clothes, boozy breath. Bill draws plenty of wary eyes as he walks through an American airport to catch a flight to the UK, but not from the security agents, who barely give him a second look. That’s because this towering sad sack is a federal air marshal, the one assigned to guard the plane.

You surely know where this is all heading, and director Jaume Collet-Serra, who previously worked with Neeson on the amnesiac 2011 Euro-thriller Unknown, doesn’t waste time with the getting-to-know-yous. No sooner has Marks settled beside inquisitive seatmate Jen (Julianne Moore, having a blast) than he gets a series of texts from a mystery terrorist who promises to kill one passenger every 20 minutes until they receive $150 million.

The set-up is dynamite and the follow-through entertainingly dumb. It’s a pleasure to watch Neeson work an alcohol-addled variation on the imposing asskicker he’s been cultivating since 2008’s Taken. Marks has a very particular set of skills that leaves plenty of necks and noses broken, but he also has a hard-luck backstory (confessed in a grin-inducing scene that manages to be both silly and sublime), giving him just the right amount of gravitas.

Collet-Serra fills the plane with a variety of eclectic faces – everyone from Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave) to increasingly everywhere character actor Corey Stoll (House of Cards). He also makes terrific use of his set, deftly rendering close-quarters smackdowns and several expertly executed one-shots.

If only the climax lived up to the tense first two-thirds. Let’s just say that Non-Stop reaches for some pointed post-9/11 political commentary that almost entirely exceeds its grasp. Total brainlessness, in this case, would have been a better call.

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Details

Release details

Rated:
M
Release date:
Thursday February 27 2014
Duration:
106 mins

Cast and crew

Director:
Jaume Collet-Serra
Screenwriter:
John W Richardson, Christopher Roach
Cast:
Liam Neeson
Julianne Moore
Anson Mount
Corey Stoll
Lupita Nyong'o

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