(Scored out of ten; below 5 = not worth seeing, 6 = ok, 7 = good, 8 = great, 9 = fantastic, 10 = next to perfect)
Non-Stop tends to live up to its name. I went in thinking i would be privy to a run of the mill action flick but I was pleasantly surprised. The movie is filled with solid performances from all of its major players and a story that is consistently throwing curves and keeping you guessing. Non-Stop is a fun ride and a well paced action thriller. There are a few hiccups along the way but it proved to be a great time at the cinema.
The always-reliable Liam Neeson brings his signature gruff to the screen once again in his turn as Marshall Bill Marks. His dedication to the safety of the crew along with his confusion and frustration at the goings on throughout the film come off as genuine but his dark past fell flat. Marks is supposed to be an alcoholic who lost his daughter to disease but this aspect of his life is mentioned once and quickly forgotten. Neeson fails to infuse these elements into his performance but honestly the film didn’t need them. His tortured past was meant to be another gateway for audiences to sympathize with the character but the exposition came way to late and was handled poorly. Luckily those aspects were unnecessary. I was already on his side when I thought of him as a dedicated father and Marshall with a fear of heights. His interaction with a little girl was truly touching and was all we needed to know he was one of the good guys.
Liam Neeson’s character is the only main player as far as the story goes but the film is full of supporting characters that do a very good job of misdirecting audiences and keeping us guessing. Julianne Moore plays a convincing solo traveller and potential love interest for Bill Marks. The only shortcoming of her character, and the rest of the cast for that matter, comes from the writing. A lot of the backstory seemed thrown together rather quickly. For example, Moore’s character comes off as confident and mysterious leading us to believe that she could be behind the terror situation on the plane. In the end it turns out that she is dying of a brain tumor and just wants to see the world. A reveal like that should have had a bit more impact than a simple throw away line. It would have been better off not mentioned at all.
This leads me to another mixed point of the film. When the final reveal does take place a story about 9/11 and national security pops up but is quickly dropped like all the other would-be-interesting plot points the writers came up with. It was a nice touch, commenting on contemporary issues and reminding audiences of such an important event but it seemed superfluous in the context we were given. It came off like the writer wanted to make a statement but couldn’t balance it out.
That being said the Non-Stop was still very enjoyable. With consistent distractions and turns in the plot one tends to forget about these tiny character flaws and focuses on the fast paced action on screen. I would definitely recommend this film to thriller fans and all those in the Liam Neeson camp. I came away pleasantly surprised, overall I give it an 8/10.