Written by / 2/28/2014 / No comments / , , , , , , ,

LIAM NEESON STARRING IN NON-STOP

year: 2014 rating: ***1/2
There’s an old movie about an airplane hijacking where the villain writes down a warning on the bathroom mirror, with lipstick… 

Well things have surely progressed... Using modern technology, smart phones are faster than the eye, or two eyes: belonging to our flawed hero, Liam Neeson’s air marshal, Bill Marks, who from the very first frame of NON-STOP, as he gets out of his car at the airport with an expression of disgust hearing planes soaring overhead… We know right off the bat this is no happy camper, and flying isn’t his cup of tea...

So by the time the plane’s in the air, and Bill begins getting threatening texts from someone on board, he’s already so high-strung it won’t take much to make him look guilty as sin. That’s how most of the film plays out, with Marks seeming like a hijacker while people are stealthily picked-off… as warned by the mystery texter… and our man has double duty of finding the killer and clearing his own maligned reputation.

It’s risky giving away too much, especially in a movie promoted as a high-octane action thriller, the likes of DIE HARD, AIR FORCE ONE or even SNAKES ON A PLANE, when it’s more of a slowburn mystery – and Neeson isn’t the only cog in the wheel. After getting to know several characters, including Julianne Moore as a friendly passenger, a helpful techie and a scene-stealing New York cop (Corey Stoll), you’ll want the plane to land safely, and not only because of a frightened little girl who, as set up from the very beginning, is the person we’re supposed to invest all our hope in.

The only downtime occurs whenever Neeson’s Marks has to figure out the next step – some maneuvers are cleverer than others. And after a while the falsely accused device gets  tiresome. Thankfully there’s an 11th hour threat that takes us past the paranoia. On the other hand, it’s a relief we didn’t have to bite our nails the entire ride, because an intriguing, fleshed-out, character-driven mystery is always the best time-filler, and NON-STOP is never boring.
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