Tuesday, June 10, 2014

"Non-Stop": All Play, Maybe A Pause For A Bathroom Break

Now Available on DVD and Blu-Ray

Yeah.  Not bad.  Not a movie that’s going to blow anyone’s mind or anything, but as an enclosed space dramatic thriller, the film works.  If you’re expecting non-stop action, this isn’t the movie for you.  If you’re expecting non-stop suspense, your mileage will fare better.  I suspect that the final twist at the end is going to catch some people off guard with how topical it is, and I’m really unsure exactly what the film is trying to say about its subtext.  I personally thought it only partially works as a conclusion, but I can see valid arguments for why the ending makes sense.  I only wish the film had done a bit more development in getting there.

You may wonder why I’m starting at the ending and being so vague about it to boot.  Well, the problem with reviewing a suspense thriller, particularly one that I enjoyed and am trying to recommend, is that telling you much of anything is going to spoil the plot twists that essentially make this movie what it is.  And because I liked this movie, I don’t want to do that.  So this review is basically going to touch very lightly on some stuff that doesn’t delve into spoiler territory, mostly things that I think the film could have done better.  However, my criticisms are only offered in light of an engaging mystery plot that kept me interested until the very end.  Just because I’m not talking about the good stuff this time doesn’t mean that it isn’t there, only that telling you about it would make the film less entertaining to watch if I did.

So, Liam Neeson plays an air marshal that gets on a plane, as they do, and becomes embroiled in a plot where an unknown passenger is threatening to kill someone every twenty minutes unless he has $150 million transferred to a trust account.  And that’s about all I can tell you about the plot.  What I can tell you about, though, is the main character.  Neeson is pretty much a blank slate for two-thirds of the movie, and while I do appreciate that the film tries to do a slow reveal as to some of his more reprehensible qualities, I think the film reveals some information too late, making some of Neeson’s motivations seem logical in retrospect.  These aren’t so much twist reveals as hastily added exposition to make the plot make sense.  Also, co-star Julianne Moore plays a love interest/exposition sounding board for Neeson, but that’s about all there is to say about her.

As for the aforementioned climax on which this whole experience relies, I’m still not 100% sure all the mystery threads tie together in a satisfactory way.  The film reaches its climax just fine, and whether you find the final reveal acceptable will be up to you, but I’m just not sure that some of the elements of the mystery are adequately explained once the bad guy is revealed.  It’s a moment that could have used an explanatory flashback montage, because I’m not sure this film is quite good enough to encourage multiple viewings.

And that’s about it; anything else would be telling too much.  Non-Stop is a pretty decent thriller.  Not the best I’ve ever seen, but I would definitely recommend giving this one a look.  Neeson has really been reveling in the serious alpha-male action thriller roles for the past decade or so, and he seems to do it because he’s pretty good at it.  If he wants to ride out his career on movies of this caliber, I see no reason not to support him.  Have fun!

Have a favorite suspense thriller?  Let me know about it in the comments below!

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