By BEAU BEHAN
Liam Neeson takes a flight across the Atlantic from New York to London and ends up trying to solve this tale of mystery at 40,000 feet. Non-Stop projects the suspense of Neeson’s other movie, Taken, but this time around, the horror occurs in the skies.
In Non-Stop, Liam Neeson portrays U.S. air marshal Bill Marks who epitomizes a man with severe addictions to smoking and alcohol. Prior to taking the flight, he needs to have his booze. He even manages to light up a cigarette inside the plane’s lavatory after covering the smoke alarm with duct tape. He is a troubled man but supposedly dependable and reliable once the plane is airborne. Undoubtedly, Marks is a complex individual with the traits of being a toughie and a softie at the same time.
In the business class cabin, Marks’ seatmate is Jen, played by Julianne Moore, and she projects an air of enigmatic gravitas. She is good natured but shrouded in a veil of mystery.
The plane takes off, and shortly thereafter, Marks receives a threatening text anonymously on his secure line with a message that someone will be killed every 20 minutes until an astronomical amount of money is wired to a designated checking account.
The film’s direction is helmed by Jaume Collet-Serra, who collaborated with Neeson in the 2011 movie, Unknown. Non-Stop has ‘non-stop’ actions, but skids to a halt towards its predictable end. However, Collet-Serra makes sure that we are immersed in the film’s mixture of mystery and comedy. As the film’s director, this is where his cleverness lies. The whole film exhibits cinematic dualism as everything and everyone appear to be in two opposing elements. It only shows that Collet-Serra is aiming at one critical point: it is best not to take this movie seriously for that maximum air speed of enjoyment.
Fans of Downton Abbey will be happy to see Michelle Dockery as she portrays a stoic and competent flight attendant. Just think of Lady Mary being downstairs in the passengers’ cabin instead of being upstairs in the pilots’ cabin. Also, I would be feeling remiss if I didn’t tell you that Lupita Nyong’o (Academy Award Nominee for 12 Years A Slave) also appears in a brief cameo.
Non-Stop is a very entertaining film. Forget about the elements of realism. Just fasten your seatbelts and enjoy this good bumpy ride. After all, who’s the ‘captain’ now?
3 out of 4 stars
- Stars: Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore, Lupita Nyong’o, Michelle Dockery
- Director: Jaume Collet-Serra PG-13, 106 minutes, Action, Mystery, Thriller
- Opens Friday, Feb 28th, 2014 nationwide, Universal Pictures
About this column: Beau Behan’s claim to fame is that his last name being the same as that of the Irish novelist, Brendan Behan. He sees himself as a romantic Rudolph Valentino type, but realizes you probably don’t. As a film critic, his work has been featured in NBC Bay Area, NBC News and Boston Globe, and can be seen on the TV show, “Beau’s Flicks & Nix”, on the Comcast Hometown Network, in Northern California. A “Flick” is a movie, and a “Nix” is just an opinion, nothing more. (BeauBehan.com)