Release Date: February 28, 2014
Cast: Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore, Scoot McNairy
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Studio: Universal Pictures, StudioCanal
Distributor: Universal Pictures
Genre(s): Action, Mystery, Thriller
Disclaimer: This review was hi-jacked by Jason Hricik (Jane’s boyfriend)
Non-Stop is an edgy action mystery that keeps the audience questioning the motives and behavior of a man that might be a hero or just an alcoholic with multiple-personality disorder. The movie begins with Liam Neeson’s character Bill Marks, a clearly depressed and haunted man, sitting in his SUV at the airport, stirring bourbon into his coffee with a toothbrush. Neeson’s acting in this movie is great; as the camera closes in you feel his character’s angst, making it clear he is lying about his daughter when he meets Jen Summers (Julianne Moore) on the plane.
Being an air marshal, Marks is clearly a veteran of flying, making you immediately question his emotional state as he grips the seat in what appears to be fear of the take-off. As the plane passes the middle of the Atlantic you see that someone has hacked the secure phone network to tell him that every 20 minutes someone will die until $150 million is transferred to a mysterious account number. How could someone hack a secure cell network? How could they know so much about him? He accuses his fellow air marshal Jack Hammond (Anson Mount) and when he finds no proof of it being a cruel joke, calls in the threat to his superior. Receiving no apparent aid from his superior or his colleague and with time to the first 20 minutes closing he begins to act erratic creating an uneasiness the audience will share with the passengers for the rest of the movie.
As he moves between the aisles, the cockpit and finally elicits the help of the flight attendant Nancy (Michelle Dockery) and Jen to track down the source of the texts you further question his tactics. The first death occurs as he confronts his first suspect and he covers it up to “keep the passengers from panicking.” The danger becomes manifest as his tactics become more disciplinarian (or tyrannical?) and his peers and passengers begin to become as disturbed as Marks.
In an otherwise solid movie I feel the biggest flaw was repeatedly having to suspend disbelief in how blatant it was that he was an air marshal before the action started. Neeson is a great choice for this role with his gruff voice and believable demeanor. The movie does a good job casting suspicion on everyone and I suggest you keep track of how many times your certainty wavers. The action as well as the intrigue keep the viewer into the movie and I would give it 4 out of 5 stars for getting me to keep forming theories for as long as it did.
Final Thoughts: Great action mystery/thriller, good acting and plot, but for the love of God remember basic gun safety and check the weapon when you pick it up. I’m looking at you hijacker.