Verdict: 3 / 5
Non-Stop sees Liam Neeson back in familiar territory as Air Marshall Bill Marks. From the set-up, we gather that he’s hit some hard times and the last thing he probably needs in his life is to get stuck on a hijacked flight. Well, guess what?
Non-Stop is built on a great, and claustrophobic premise. Bill constantly receives threats and demands from a hijacker on board his flight via his secure “Air Marshall” chat service. It’s up to Bill to try and find the person before he starts killing people on board. Needless to say, people start dying and suspects begin to mount up. It’s a confined, modern “Who-Dunnit”, somewhere along the lines of “Murder on the Orient Express” with a lot of “Taken” thrown in.
What works really well in the movie is both the guessing game of who to trust and who we think the hijacker is. The film loves to play on people’s perceptions of others, dragging in stereotypes, and causing us to even question our dismissal of overly obvious suspects. The mind games are great, and right the way through to the revelation of the film, you will find yourself trying to figure out the puzzle.
For all it’s well revealed plot details and tension, and for its undeniably entertaining exhilaration at points, you can’t help feel that ultimately the film is quite forgettable. It’s not a film that’s going to overly challenge you, and ultimately it is going to be forgotten within a few days. It does its job well for a few hours and then leaves it at that – and to be honest, that’s fine.
I do have some issues with the film, nothing major, but definitely detractors. Firstly, when the final reveal of the hijacker is revealed you can’t help feeling like the motive is overly spelled out and that most of the film was made for someone to get this particular agenda across. It reminds me a lot of the Scream movie structure, where we spend the film trying to figure out who the killer is, and then they reveal themselves, spell out the motive and the climax ensues. Because it’s not a purely personal vendetta, the attack on certain aspects of the American Government and way of life does feel kind of preachy. It’s not that I agree or disagree with what’s being preached, I just don’t like the way it was done.
The visual effects in the movie suck. There, I said it. I can’t try and cover it up because they are simply not up to scratch, especially considering the majority of the film is shot on one small sound stage – surely there was some cash left over for the effects? When the plane is landing, I literally thought I was watching a video game trailer… from five years ago. I’m not sure what happened here, or where the budget went to, but I really felt the VFX let the side down.
In closing, I would definitely recommend this film for a random Friday night when you simply have nothing to do – it will fill the time well. I will also leave you with this question: Am I the only one who is worried about Liam Neeson’s career. Seriously, this guy has become the Action King, but it can’t be long before he joins another action king in a certain league of churned out trash… that man’s name… Nicolas Cage.