Weathered, whiskered Liam Neeson is the archetype of a disillusioned, alcoholic Federal air marshal; “Bill Marks”, running on empty, neurotic about flying, shortly after take off on a New York/London flight, receives a “text”, on a secure line, demanding 150 million dollars be transferred to a numbered account or someone will die every twenty minutes. Hence the flight takes off and all on board are guilty or innocent simultaneously.
Director Jaume Collet-Serra and writers John W. Richardson, Chris Roach and Ryan Engle have gifted viewers a taut, assiduous, stunning film that simmers with pristine alacrity, ineluctable, whiplash, efficacious action; cemented to one’s seat for two satisfying, suspenseful hours.
The success of the film lies in the genius of the director to transform the suffocating confines of a passenger plane to the vast landscape of the unknown; the homicidal potential transcends the claustrophobic environment; the unmasking of the ineluctable villain is the prime focus; 150 passengers are at the whim of a fanatical, warped but brilliant mind.
Julianne Moore, as Bill’s enigmatic, empathetic seat-mate, “Jen” adds levity and enlightened insight as the flight continues its torturous path towards destruction or solvency. Corey Stoll and Nate Parker are particularly intriguing as disgruntled passengers. But it is Neeson’s performance that lends legitimate anxiety and potency to “Non-Stop”. Bill Marks is a man who has seen it all, experienced the ultimate searing; life is at its nadir and he is forced to delve into the pits of his resolve, recognize his human but horrific flaws, rise from the ashes, reach for the light, and prevail.
THREE & 1/2 STARS!!!