Screenplay by John W. Richardson, Chris Roach, Ryan Engle
Produced by Joel Silver, Alex Heineman, Steve Richards, Andrew Rona
Starring Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore, Scoot McNairy, Michelle Dockery, Lupita Nyong'o,
Nate Parker, Jason Butler Harner, Anson Mount
Running Time: 106 minutes
Bill Marks (Liam Neeson) is an air marshal who is grieving upon the death of his eight-year-old daughter as a result of leukemia. After her death, he has resorted to alcoholism. He has been assigned onto a flight from New York to London with a mysterious female passenger named Jen Summers (Julianne Moore) by his side. While the plane is still crossing across the Atlantic Ocean, Bill receives mysterious text messages which tell him that every twenty minutes, a passenger is to be killed up until 150 million dollars is transferred to an offshore account. Bill must find the terrorist on board the plane in time to save the lives of the passengers on board.
Right here is a rather interesting setup for what could be a rather entertaining thriller. In fact, I did not come into such a film expecting that what I will be finding is the most meaningful film of all time. In fact, I never at all would expect to find such out of blockbuster cinema (but this still has never stopped me from loving films like Jaws or Close Encounters and such). This film offers what it would want to those who expect whatever. If you expect that this will be a fun movie, you're going to get that. If you're going to expect that what you will be seeing here is one of the worst films of the year, you're going to be getting that. I did not set any sort of expectations for a film like this, but I did not like it nor did I hate it.
I'll admit the premise is quite great for a film like this. Heck, I was being rather honest when I said that the premise did sound like it were rather Hitchcockian. Depending on how you set your expectations for the premise, you might get the exact opposite of what you find on the screen. I would have expected that the premise would be rather interesting enough to make the film in its entirety worth watching. Instead, what I got was a suspense thriller with confused elements of action thrown right in so that it can get the appeal that I would imagine it would want. In this case, I am very mixed upon what I should be thinking about the whole movie.
Liam Neeson is one of those actors who can bring just about as much energy as he would want into whatever role he is given. He has given off some truly great performances, the most noteworthy of which is his portrayal of Oskar Schindler in Steven Spielberg's masterpiece Schindler's List (which I believe to be the finest film America has made about the Holocaust, or even the finest film to have been made about such a terrible event). Now, it already seems as if Liam Neeson will do just about anything to appeal to die-hard action movie fans (obviously, I am not part of this group). I enjoyed watching Neeson as an action star in the first Taken film, and it seems as if he's doing whatever he wants in this role. He's alright when he plays this part, and that's all I can ever really say about a performance like this.
But like always, my praise is mostly reserved for Julianne Moore. My love for Julianne Moore is what obviously would have drawn me to the film as a whole. Her performance is easily the reason as to why I did not give the film a rating below five stars, but I know it does not deserve seven stars from a person much like myself. Just the presence of Julianne Moore usually would make me want to watch just about anything. I think that she actually can be quite good even in roles where I would least expect seeing her. This is one of those cases and I actually have quite loved seeing her in this role. In fact, this was the only thing I remember having truly "loved" about a rather disappointing film like Non-Stop.
Many people, including myself, have complained about the way the film executes its third act. My criticism of the film's third act would already come about because I feel that in tone with the rest of the film, it instead feels much like a completely different film. The first and second acts of the film already seemed rather interesting enough, even if they weren't executed in the most intelligent way on the screen, but the film takes an asinine turn upon its third act and that is where it begins to disappoint a person like myself. It simply doesn't work in a movie like Non-Stop, considering what else the whole film has built up.
Well, I had fun during those moments where I know I would have wanted to, but did I ever truly "love" anything about the film? The premise and Julianne Moore are great, but the rest is sadly a mere disappointment. I really wanted to like this film (for the love of God, it's got Julianne Moore in the cast!), but the whole film seems like a result of wasted potential. Depending on how you set your expectations for a film like this, you're going to love it or hate it. I feel I am still rather divided, but I kept watching out of respect for Julianne Moore. I quite love her as an actress, but I think she can do much better than this (if you see her in this year's Maps to the Stars, right there is a much more impressive performance).