Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Non-Stop (ST)

Boeing, Boeing, Gone

A movie set entirely on an airplane, you say? Now where have I heard of that concept before? Aside from the obvious Leslie Nielsen comedy other mile-high members include Flightplan, United 93 and Red Eye. However, Non-Stop has one asset that separates itself from other fellow flyers: Liam Neeson. Anyone who says they have never wondered what the Irish star would be like as an Air Marshal is a liar.

Marshal Bill Marks (what a name!) is a washed up mess. When the routine transatlantic flight he is escorting is infiltrated by a murderous terrorist the old alcoholic has no choice but to resort to drastic measures. When tempers rise, the only people to keep their faith in Marks are a mysterious passenger (Julianne Moore) and an air-hostess (Michelle Dockery).

There are implausible narratives and then there is Non-Stop. Gigantic plot holes regularly appear to stretch credulity to breaking point. How much the problematic plot detracts from your overall entertainment is entirely up to you. As a decidedly anti-sceptic critic, I managed to have a lot of fun. Of course it is silly, far-fetched and superficial; it’s a Liam Neeson action film. Do not expect kitchen sink realism or you will damn yourself to disappointment.

Firstly, Neeson is great. He can talk tough, generally look troubled, and rumble in a toilet cubicle like any scrappy fighter – the perfect fit for a John McClane style hero. Marks is certainly no shallow muscle man and the Taken star captures his tormented spirit without breaking a sweat.

Also, Julianne Moore must be one of the most reliable actresses in Hollywood. This sort of material is totally beneath her but you would not have guessed that from her committed presence. To make an incredibly dull character seem interesting is the ultimate compliment to her proven skill.

Although Non-Stop throws plenty of bangs and crashes at its audience, its efforts fail to surpass the epic plane-landing sequence in last year’s Oscar contender, Flight. Unfortunately for the director, Robert Zemeckis got there first and did things a whole lot better. But my own general unease over air travel is captured throughout the film, escalating from troublesome passengers to the post- 9/11 hijacking paranoia.

Ultimately, the claustrophobic airplane premise is still an effective idea even if it isn’t an original one.



1 comment:

  1. Nice review Stephen. Pretty dumb for what it is, but still a whole bunch of fun when it's keeping you in the dark.