Valdosta Daily Times

Features

March 8, 2014

‘Non-Stop’ is non-stop entertainment

-- — “Non-Stop” (Action/Mystery: 1 hour, 48 minutes)

Starring: Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore, Scoot McNairy and Anson Mount

Director: Jaume Collet-Serra

Rated: PG-13 (Violence, strong language, sensuality and drug references)

Movie Review: A good movie reels in its audience immediately. “Non-Stop” does this nicely from its start, creating a nice mystery. Mainly, it accomplishes this via making everyone appear a suspect. The method is a beautiful means of creating engaging entertainment.   

Bill Marks (Neeson) is an air marshal on a transatlantic flight. Moments after the plane takes off, he receives a series of text messages informing him a passenger will die every 20 minutes unless the airline transfers $150 million into an offshore account. The interesting part is the bank account’s registration indicates it belongs to Marks. This complicates matters, and Marks must quickly ascertain the person sending the messages and their true intent before his passengers’ lives face danger.

“Non-Stop” is good entertainment. It is action scenes on a plane. This means the setting is isolated to one particular area with a defined set of players.  

Although it plays as an action piece, it is really a mystery. One must constantly try to find who the real culprit is. This is no easy task. From the start, the film introduces several passengers boarding and seated on the aircraft. The introductions are noteworthy because the passengers are all strangers, and some appear suspicious, not because they are but because the audience knows — via prior trailers — one person is foul.

This stays in one’s mind as a mystery unfolds. The entire guessing makes all not boring. What happens next is a very engaging aspect.

Neeson makes his films believable as he creates onscreen personas who are credible. Here, he is a man on edge. He is trying to find who is sending him messages and threatening the lives on flight. Simultaneously, he is also a suspect. Neeson plays the part well. This drives the film and makes this a worthwhile photoplay.

The one major drawback is it lasts 20 minutes. The movie takes an awkwardly uncharacteristic nose-dive. The less than intelligent moments of action overshadow the film’s otherwise smart plot. The ending becomes trite. It also ends too quickly, leaving some matters unsolved. Even more, some players’ actions appear all too well planned. The film’s main antagonist would have needed to be a psychic with a doctorate in behavioral psychology to predict what others would do to accuracy exhibited.

Still, Neeson, Moore, and few others provide solid entertainment. They also provide a great enigmatic screenplay that energizes at every turn.     

Grade: B (Nonstop pleasure)

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