Non-Stop is an action thriller starring Liam Neeson as Bill Marks, an alcoholic US Federal air marshal on a nonstop flight from New York to London. Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, who previously worked with Neeson on the 2011 thriller Unknown, Non-Stop brings Liam Neeson in the air and forces him against an anonymous threat, who promises to kill someone every 20 minutes unless he is paid $150 million dollars. Bill, slightly drunk and just having smoked a cigarette in the airplane lavatory, receives an anonymous text detailing that this person knows he is the Federal Marshal on board, and unless he receives the money will kill someone on the plane every 20 minutes. From there things get weird. Bill must rely on people he can barely trust to find the killer, and in the process must examine his own demons as he questions reality and the threat turns from bad to worse, with nobody to trust.
The entire film besides some establishing scenes takes place on the airplane. That’s not a lot of room to be able to try new things, and films that suffer with this problem, often have issues arising from a constrictive shooting location. Non-Stop was able to visually keep the film interesting, as it not only built tension but had unique shots that brought the audience closer to the action. The first two acts do a great job building the tension that inevitably must be resolved in some way during the third act. The audience is kept questioning who the threat is while being shown that almost anyone could be a suspect. The passengers are all suspects, and the film does a good job in building up to its conclusion. The third act and ending are not as good as the setup, which is why the score is not higher. It’s not a terrible ending, however, it lacked something special. Still, for the type of movie it is, most of the audience seeing the movie know what they’re getting, and for the most part Non-Stop is an overall fun movie.
Within the last couple years Liam Neeson has come into his own as an action star. At the tender age of 61, Neeson is as strong as ever as a true bonafide action star. Neeson is believable as someone who can hold his own in a fight, and he’s also a pretty good actor. Many action stars we have come to love in our movies can’t really act. Audiences forgive the lack of acting ability in favor of electricity on screen, but it’s nice to see an action star who’s really an actor first. Non-Stop mostly features Neeson, often by himself attempting to solve this mystery and stop the killer. Neeson is one of those actors that has that look about him; he can convey emotions without speaking a word. In this film, Neeson, even as an alcoholic US air marshal, will still get sympathy.
Non-Stop is a movie that doesn’t attempt to be anything that it’s not. It embraces its relatively cliché plot and lets Neeson handle most of the load. The supporting cast of Julian Moore, Michelle Dockery, Nate Parker, Linus Roache, and Shae Whigham (Boardwalk Empire) more than back up Neeson’s efforts and add to the overall quality of the film. I would have given it a higher score, but the originality of the plot and the third act held it back. Overall, Non-Stop is an incredibly fun film to watch. You will be trying to guess who the killer is for most of the film, and you get to see Liam Neeson do what he does best, kick some ass.
Non-Stop can now be purchased on Video on Demand (VOD), and will be available to rent Tuesday June 3.