“Non-Stop”—Starring Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore and Michelle Dockery
7 out of 10
By Cameron M. Bray ’16
Due to Hollywood’s recent obsession with bland, homogenized action movies, good old-fashioned mystery films have become rarer than diamonds.
Unlike most of its contemporaries, “Non-Stop” first piqued my interest with its intriguing trailer, which promised a unique blend of action and mystery.
“Non-Stop” heavily reminisces the works of Agatha Christie, fashioning the elements of mystery into a strong plot with many surprises interspersed throughout.
The story begins with Liam Neeson as William “Bill” Marks—an alcoholic U.S. federal air marshall whose seven-year-old daughter died of cancer.
Despite his fear of airplane takeoffs and his quasi-jadedness, Marks boards British Aqualantic Flight 10, a non-stop flight from New York to London.
Several hours into the flight Marks receives text messages over the secure network stating that someone will die every 20 minutes unless $150 million are wired to a specific bank account.
Refusing to heed the crook’s demands, Marks vows to protect the passengers onboard while still searching for the perp responsible.
The situation, however, deteriorates quickly, resulting in a grand dilemma where Marks is believed to be a terrorist and a hijacker.
Overall, the plot is very competent and does an especially good job of raising the viewer’s suspicion.
Throughout “Non-Stop,” everyone appears to be subject.
Could the perp be Mark’s seatmate, the elusive but affable Jen Summers, played by Julianne Moore?
Could it be brash police officer Austin Reilly, played by Corey Stoll?
Could it be the techno-savvy inventor Zach White, played by Nate Parker?
Could it be the foolish Tom Bowen, played Scott McNairy, who claimed he was supposed to be flying to Amsterdam?
Could it be one of the flight attendants? The pilots?
The film successfully characterizes all the major passengers, creating an aura of suspicion and intrigue surrounding each.
Ironically, the weakest character is the protagonist, Marks.
Marks’s two salient character traits are both clichéd.
Straight from the book of hackneyed characters, Mark’s daughter died of cancer, and as a result he is extremely melancholic.
However, since she died off screen, it is hard to feel attached to Marks.
At least Mark’s other trait, his alcoholism, drives the plot in someway.
Mark’s alcoholism makes the viewer wonder if there truly is terrorist onboard the plane, or if it is all just the machinations of a delusional, woebegone drunkard.
Overall, “Non-Stop” is a strong mystery film and an equally strong action flick boasting a weak main character and a below-average third act, and for that it receives a 7 out of 10.