Even Liam Neeson can’t save Non-Stop from a twisted crash landing.
By Richard Crouse and Mark Breslin – Reel Guys Metro Canada
Synopsis: Liam Neeson joins the mile-high club in Non-Stop. He plays Bill Marks, an aging U.S. federal air marshal safeguarding the 150 passengers, including Julianne Moore, Corey Stoll, Linus Roache and flight attendant Lupita Nyong’o, on an international flight from New York to London. He’s also a burn-out, a lonely guy with a loaded gun and a propensity to get loaded on booze. The routine flight becomes fraught with danger when he receives text messages from a mysterious source threatening to kill a passenger every 20 minutes unless a ransom of $150 million is deposited into a bank account. When that account is discovered to be in Marks’s name, he’s accused of being a hijacker.
• Richard: 2/5
• Mark: 2/5
Richard: Mark, Non-Stop has more red herrings than a fish and chips shop. Clues are dropped and discarded and the plot is so ludicrous that every now and again someone has to say, “I can explain this,” so the audience has a fighting chance of making some kind of sense of the intrigue. The story is simple but is muddied by outrageous twists. Once I decided to not try and play along — this isn’t True Detective where every word and scene counts — I enjoyed watching Neeson in action man mode. He’s better than the movie and he made this movie better simply by showing up.
Mark: Richard, I liked the movie in spite of itself. I did play along right to the end, and enjoyed the ride. But it’s this Agatha Christie-like cheesiness that keeps threatening to sink the picture. And the answer to the movie’s riddle was far from satisfying. It felt tacked on and graceless. Neeson is great, but he’s getting so old for this sort of thing. Soon he’s going to have to chase after the bad guys with a walker.
RC: You wouldn’t say that if he was after you! Walker or no walker, the old boy has some life in him yet. There is a certain cheesy joy to be found in the image of Neeson floating in zero gravity, grabbing a gun out of the air and getting business done. He has carved a unique action niche for himself and seems to be having fun growling and gunning his way through trashy action movies.
MB: And what about Julianne Moore? What’s her excuse? Mortgage payments? She was actually the one passenger I didn’t believe in for a moment. I kept thinking, “Why is Julianne Moore in this picture?’ And like everyone else, she gets to do an emotional speech that proves she couldn’t be the villain. Which, of course, may or may not be the case. I know you liked Neeson’s zero gravity gun grab, but I also liked his fist fight in the airplane lavatory. Shot in such close quarters, it was very exciting.
RC: I hope Moore buys something nice with the pay cheque. She gets the job done, but that part could have been played by anyone. I feel bad for Lupita Nyong’o. She’s an Oscar nominee for 12 Years a Slave, but here she’s reduced to a Grace Jones impersonator with just a few lines.
MB: Weirdly, I did not feel very emotionally involved with the movie. Maybe because so much of the plot depends on texting, or maybe because the characters keep yammering on, Non-Stop, about their backstory.