Reviewed by: Damian Anderson
CONTRIBUTOR—first time reviewer
|Featuring:||Liam Neeson … Bill Marks
Julianne Moore … Jen Summers
Scoot McNairy … Tom Bowen
Michelle Dockery … Nancy
Nate Parker … Zack White
Corey Stoll … Austin Reilly
Lupita Nyong’o … Gwen
Omar Metwally … Dr. Fahim Nasir
Jason Butler Harner … Kyle Rice
Tagline: The hijacking was just the beginning.
Liam Neeson is back punching bad guys and shooting weapons in his newest film, “Non-Stop”. He portrays Bill Marks, a US Air Marshall on his way to London. He begins receiving anonymous text messages threatening to kill somebody aboard the plane every 20 minutes until $150,000,000 is transferred to a wireless account. In the process of discovering the texter, all fingers begin to point to him as a terrorist, and, soon, everyone is against him.
“Non-Stop” lives up to its name. Once the “action” starts, it doesn’t stop until the very end. Perhaps the word “action” is the wrong term; there aren’t a great many action scenes. Yes, Liam kicks butt in a few scenes, but they are limited. The film instead focuses on the mystery who the texter is. Once Marks starts receiving the text messages the tension is thick. The scene is quiet, with sound limited to background music and keypad pressing. After that, the game begins—trying to discover the villain. Everyone becomes a suspect, both in the eyes of Neeson’s character and in the eyes of the audience.
The question arises, how do you kill someone on a plane filled with people, crowded in fact. It seems that Hollywood is starting to return to simple premises for films. Let’s be honest, an entire film concerning one setting could really be boring. Some films can pull it off, and this is one of them. Its humor is well based; the scenes make you laugh and always feel in place.
Liam steals the show. Sure he is the main character, but at times minor characters can easily become the most fun to watch. There are other characters that just seem unimportant. For example, Julianne Moore stars as Jen Summers who is almost forgettable.
Other characters appear on screen and are immediately suspect. But hey, that’s their purpose. It is a fun quest for the audience to take part in, trying to discover the bad guy and see how accurate they are. I changed my mind several times, and, to my frustration, I was right in the beginning. The film does a tremendous job of keeping the audience involved in discovering the villain and causing their mind several times, over and over again.
Neeson’s acting always appeals to me. He has a way of expressing the character’s mood and feeling with just his eyes. Some mock him as a bad actor, because he is monotone, but if you watch his body language and facial emotions those mockers are silenced. There is a scene where he is smoking in the restroom and just looks hurt. His eyes say pain and regret. In a later scene, which is quite emotional, after everyone has turned against him, he confesses how terrible a person and father he is. Flawed characters such as his are often the most remembered for their humanity.
Violence: The action scenes are violent and graphic. They include nose breaking, neck snapping, etc.
Profanity: There is a bit of vulgar language, including sh*t, bullsh*t, f*ck, *sshh*le, dick and wanker. Jesus’ name is used in vain several times, along with God d*mn.
Sexuality: There is a scene of a couple making out—caressing each other. There is also a scene where a young male snaps pictures of a woman’s cleavage with his phone.
Drinking/Drug use: A character has a suitcase full of cocaine. Neeson’s character is also an alcoholic.
Bill Marks is strongly moved by his conviction to save everyone around him. Even when everyone turns against him; his concern is always the plane’s passengers. He never mentions saving himself. Likewise, we (Christians) are called to follow what God has called us to do, no matter what others say about us. Jesus said, “Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also” —(John 15:20).
Though “Non-Stop” contains lots of tense suspense and makes audience hearts pump with it, it is easily forgotten. After watching the film there is no feeling of triumph or victory, just relief. It feels primarily made for adults. It may not be “Taken,” but it still delivers the thrills it promises. One thing is for sure, I’m not flying any time soon.
Violence: Moderate / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: Mild
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.