'Non-Stop' (2014) Movie Review

Non Stop movie review
Liam Neeson in Non-Stop
Photo: Universal Pictures

NOTE: Within this review there are hints as to how the movie doesn't end, which should be considered a spoiler for those that try and avoid such things.

For what it is, Non-Stop is a satisfying thriller, but it's a standard whodunnit with a slight psychological bend that, had it been pursued to the end, would have actually made it the Hitchcockian thrill ride some are going to attempt to peg it as being. However, to do that would have taken a lot more nerve than a director of Jaume Collet-Serra's standing has shown to possess, though you could argue Orphan (which went all the way to the other side) was more ballsy than most films we get today, even if I wasn't much of a fan, though more as a result of the filmmaking not the actual narrative.

Grade: C+

Non-Stop"Non-Stop" is a Universal Pictures release, directed by Jaume Collet-Serra and is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action and violence, some, language, sensuality and drug references. The running time is .

The cast includes Liam Neeson, Nate Parker, Julianne Moore, Scoot McNairy, Michelle Dockery, Bar Paly, Corey Stoll, Lupita Nyong'o, Anson Mount and Corey Hawkins.

This time Collet-Serra is working with a screenplay from unproven screenwriters John W. Richardson, Chris Roach and Ryan Engle, all first-time feature writers with Roach being a regular writer for the WWE. Given their credits, or lack-of, I would have expected much worse, but as far as generic thrillers go this one keeps you engaged, even if only to find out whether you guessed who's really behind the terrorist threat aboard this seemingly-doomed international flight to London.

Enter U.S. air marshal Bill Marks (Liam Neeson). He's hit hard times. We know this because just before he boards his flight we see him drinking in the parking lot. Never a good sign. Red-eyed and weary he helps a little girl get over her fear of boarding the plane before taking his seat. Meanwhile we're witness to the supporting cast, which includes Lupita Nyong'o as a last second replacement flight attendant, Corey Stoll as a crazy-eyed passenger, Scoot McNairy as the overly-nice man asking for a light, Nate Parker as a techie and Julianne Moore as a woman that wants the window seat.

There's also Anson Mount as a second, douchey air marshal aboard the same flight (he reminded me a lot of a more sinister version of the character played by Eric Lutes in that awful, mid-'90s sitcom "Caroline in the City"), Michelle Dockery as the lead flight attendant and Omar Metwally as Dr. Fahim Nasir, because it wouldn't be a terrorist movie aboard a plane if we didn't hint at Muslim involvement.

What do all of these people have in common? They're all suspects! Even Neeson is a suspect as he begins receiving text messages telling him someone will die every 20 minutes unless $150 million is wired into a specified account. As we soon learn, the account is in his name!

Surprisingly, this familiar little "twist" is where the film really could have found some interesting territory to mine. It may have ultimately been looked at as something of a Fight Club rip-off, but I would have loved to have seen Neeson in that moment of realization.

By the time the dust settles, Non-Stop has some entertaining moments (and a fire extinguisher to the face that actually made me jump). It's not as ham-handed as I expected to be and it's a cut above the "so bad it's good" formula, where it just feels "good enough not to be bad". As far as movies of this sort are concerned, I'm actually glad I saw this one in a theater, though I know now it wouldn't have really mattered had I never seen it at all.


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  • Aidan Khan

    Sounds decent, i actually didnr hate Unknown so ill check it out.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Roger/ Roger

    Probably a solid rental.

  • BradyD

    I'll probably end up seeing it tonight. Sounds much better than I thought it would be.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/azjoker1/ azjoker1

    I'm really surprised that this movie is almost fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. I thought it would end up with a 10-20%.

  • parapa

    Was a big fan of both Orphan and Unknown, so count me in. Collet Sera is very good at making these fun middle-tier exploitation thrillers. Orphan is way more fun and entertaining than it has any right to be (while playing it straight and not winking at the audience), and Unknown is a genuinely solid, classy spy thriller.

  • Xarnis

    Might check this out at some point. Could be all right. I like me some Liam Neesons

  • agent_smith

    I am a big fan of Liam's movies so I will definately see this.

  • http://moviereviewninja.com themoviewatcher

    Going to see this tommorow.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/kathrynlynn/ kathrynlynn

    Neeson was the perfect man to pull off all of this- all the trope parts of the film seem genuine with him saying the lines and that sincere furrowed brow he seems to have almost the whole time.

    I hated the ending though. And without being too spoilery- things go down in a way where we sort of get this three minute expositiony explanation and I found myself rolling my eyes.

    I thought there were a lot of cool shots, and I felt the tension really well throughout. If there is a problem, it's with the script, and I try not to be too picky about that- but the ending "reason" is so blah.