Movie Review – Non-Stop

by Donald Hanson • March 6, 2014 • Movie ReviewsComments (0)1627

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With the first ‘Taken’ movie, Liam Neeson embarked on a career as an intimidating but unlikely and understated action hero. Since then, ‘Unknown’, ‘The Grey’ and ‘Taken 2’ have all cast him in a similar role with a varying levels of success. It’s a standard attitude in Hollywood to repeat a formula that works. If it aint broke, don’t fix it. ‘Non-Stop’ has more in common with the superior ‘Unknown’ and less with the more predictable and formulaic Taken films and as a result is a pretty good movie.

In Non-Stop Liam Neeson plays Air Marshall Bill Marks. He has to deal with a murderer who is killing someone every 20 minutes on his flight. The problem is that he doesn’t know who the murderer is. Julianne Moore plays Jen Summers, a passenger who befriends him and like everyone else, she is a suspect. One of the elements taken from ‘Unknown’ is the mystery aspect of the film. Obviously the key to a suspense thriller like this is to ratchet up the tension and having the entire film take place on an airplane helps.

This movie does 2 things really well. First, it builds the tension slowly, steadily and methodically. Building and developing the characters and relationships the same way, Non-Stop has you wondering what’s going to happen next at all times. The second thing it does well is a decent job of keeping the audience guessing who the killer is.  You get thrown a variety of characters all of which suspicion is cast upon. There are plenty of red herrings and the suspects range from so obvious it can’t be them to so seemingly safe that it can’t be them. But they are all suspicious in some way. Even the crew of the plane down to the stewardesses and pilots. The suspense plus the murder mystery really make this movie work.

Interestingly enough, my main complaints could be fixed if the movie were longer. Usually I don’t want movies to be longer but here it would have helped. Instead of 106 minutes the film could have been 2 1/2 to 3 hours. There are a few story lines that are introduced and then glossed over or feel awkward because they feel rushed. The plus side of the running time is that you’re never bored but being a little more thorough would have made the film feel more complete. One last thing, if you pay attention early on, you can probably figure out one of the surprises at the end.

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