Sunday, July 20, 2014

Non-Stop (2014)

JohnnyTwoToes reviews this tense airborne thriller

After seeing a string of rather disappointing films, FINALLY Non-Stop lifted my spirits. It is cliched but enjoyable garbage in a good way in all the ways Pompeii and I, Frankenstein were not. 

Liam Neeson plays a US air marshall named Bill Marks and he has seen better days. A borderline alcoholic, a failed marriage and all of the necessary disappointments that are required of this character. Neeson wears it well, too. While on a transatlantic non-stop flight from New York to London, Marks receives texts to his phone that state the other passengers will start meeting the grim reaper if $150 million dollars is not deposited into an account of the terrorists choosing. The rest of the film is how Marks finds out who it is.

Non-Stop is a different take on Neeson's Taken action persona and although this film is ludicrous it is never the less fun to watch. Juame Collet-Serra, who directed Neeson in the 2011 film Unknown, directs again here and they both keep the tension palpable and Neeson's performance is convincing. 

There is an attention to detail in Non-Stop which was kind of neat. Whenever, Neeson and the terrorist send texts back and forth, the viewer sees them type but they have tweaked it by showing they both have spell check. It brought a chuckle from me. They might be crazy but at least they don't need to worry about how to spell. Logically, this makes sense and might not seem like a big deal, but it is this attention to the smaller details that made this film work for me. 

Clearly, Neeson carries Non-Stop, but the script and story written by John W. Richardson, Christopher Roach and Ryan Engle, bristles with a series of twists and turns that I never saw coming. The plane is populated with your standard characters but the acting is solid from even the smallest of parts so that the story sells and I believed the dire situation. Julianne Moore is Jen, the female interest who does not seem to know what she believes. Is Marks crazy? Is the situation out of his control? She is dubious of Marks and Moore's performance is convincingly effective.

John Ottman's score is an amalgamation of electronics, percussion and orchestral arrangements, keeps the pressure on and is well worth the purchase. All in all, Non-Stop is enjoyable thanks largely to Neeson's focused performance, a fine supporting cast, decent script, solid direction and a great score. NOT coming soon to a plane near you, is Non-Stop. It is available on DVD and ON DEMAND. The soundtrack is available on CD and download. Non-Stop-***1/2 out of 4


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