Liam Neeson and director Jaume Collet-Serra reunite for a tense but predictable in-flight thriller
Non-Stop sees a reunion of Liam Neeson and Spanish director Jaume Collet-Serra, who previously worked together on 2011’s mistaken identity thriller Unknown. The pair obviously like each other, as Neeson is once again prepared to peddle that grizzled hard-man persona that he embodied so well in Taken and The Grey. Here, he plays Bill Marks, an air marshal with a drinking problem who boards a transatlantic flight that soon turns into a nightmare.
Shortly after take-off, Marks gets texts from a fellow flyer – stating that unless $150 million is put into an off-shore account, one passenger will die every twenty minutes. The first to go is Marks’ fellow air marshal, but only after he attacks Marks – who kills him in self-defence and discovers he has a briefcase full of cocaine. So is the beginning of a nifty set-up with Marks the fall guy – not least when it’s revealed that the aforementioned account is in Marks’ name.
What follows is even more intriguing as whatever Marks does, he gets out-thought at every turn. Even those he recruits to help him – Julianne Moore’s fellow passenger, Michelle Dockery’s air hostess – aren’t above suspicion, while those in economy class are pretty much fair game for Marks to bully into submission as he tries to uncover the real terrorist. Collet-Serra never lets the tension drop during these sequences, living up to the relentless nature of the title.
Predictably, though, Non-Stop is unable to deliver a satisfactory touchdown, with the explanation for Marks’ persecution as lame as the sentimental outcome. It’s one of those films where you’ll feel cheated after such an engrossing build-up; even the special effects – which should’ve distracted you from the weak conclusion – lack the sheer terror of, say, Flight. Rest assured you’ll want to parachute out long before it hits the ground.
General release from Fri 28 Feb.