Universal Pictures (106 mins)
PG-13 (Violence, some language, some sexual and drug references)
See that you catch this ‘Non-Stop’ flight for mystery and action!
By James Peterson
As aging Federal Air Marshal Bill Marks (Liam Neeson) waits to board a flight from London to New York, he surveys the passengers for potential threats. He pauses to examine further a tall brooding man, and then another man who appears Muslim, and finally makes note of all the people using smart phones, which is basically everyone. Everyone is a suspect, or a potential problem.
And that is EXACTLY how director Jaume Collet-Serra wants the audience to see these characters, because Non-Stop is basically a slowly building whodunit that ultimately morphs into an action film. Mid-way across the Atlantic, Bill receives an ominous text from an unknown person who threatens to kill people on the plane unless $150 million is transferred to an account – in Bill’s name.
The marshal goes from person-to-person, looking for the suspect, suspicious of everyone, and he doesn’t know who (or what) to believe. Soon, HE becomes the suspect in an international hostage situation, and only he can save the passengers AND himself.
I’ll admit that when I saw the trailer and poster for this film, I immediately thought “Taken” meets “Executive Decision”. But coming away from the film, I realize that this is not some face-smashing action flick, but more of a mystery with tense moments sprinkled in to keep the audience engaged.
This original screenplay by John Richardson and Chris Roach dials up the momentum into the third act, where the perpetrator is revealed and the real action begins. Although there were a few moments, particularly monologues that detract from the overall experience, I saw a woman literally on the edge of her seat during a harrowing sequence of the movie. I was able to cast aside a few insignificant plot holes, and a Julianne Moore performance that seems unnecessary, and still enjoy the film.
I wasn’t alone. More than once the audience cheered and applauded, so the experience is overall a good one.