The first part of the year constitutes slim pickings for movie fans. The
industry lumps all the films it expects to be good into end of the year
releases so that they will be fresh in mind for Oscarģ voters. The
result is that when the new year starts there really arenít very many
good movies released.
Liam Neeson discovered a good thing a few years back when he came out
with the first Taken film during the first two months of the
year. It was a huge hit. He followed that up almost each year thereafter
with more entertaining thrillers released at the same time of the year
and now it is something we have come to rely upon.
Non-Stop fits nicely into the new Neeson genre. Itís a thriller you
donít want to spend too much time thinking about because some of the
plot holes could tend to ruin the entertainment. Neeson plays a flawed
Air Marshal, Bill Marks, a drunk who finds himself on a plane with an
unknown assailant who puts the plane and all its passengers in danger as
he affects the murders of several, and as the film progresses Marks gets
into more and more trouble.
The story is by John Richardson & Chris Roach, who wrote the screenplay,
their first to be made into a film. Apparently their version wasnít good
enough, however, because Ryan Engle, another rookie, also gets a credit
and heís not a part of the Richardson/Roach team. Itís still got some
weaknesses, though. The first killing is predicted by the killer but the
way it happens couldnít possibly have been caused, or even predicted, by
the killer. But it still happens precisely on the timetable he predicts.
This requires the viewer to totally suspend all common sense. The other
killings are explained in a way that can be traced directly to the
killer. Itís just the first one that strains credulity to the breaking
Fortunately Neeson is reunited with director Jaume Collet-Serra, who
directed Neesonís last winterĖspring thriller, Unknown. They are
joined by composer John Ottman, another participant from Unknown.
TensionĖenhancing music is essential to a thriller like this, and Ottman
comes through in spades.
Collet-Serra gets good performances out of his mostly unknown cast,
especially Michelle Dockery as Nancy, a stewardess who knows Marks but
begins to doubt. Marks finds himself all alone battling huge odds with
everyone against him.
The movie has an enormous plot hole when it ends, as Marks has explained
some science that might or might not be factually accurate, but if you
want to enjoy the movie you have to go along with it. Shortly
thereafter, something doesnít happen that would occur if the science
Marks told everyone about were true. Most people probably wonít even
think about it. I did, but it didnít spoil the movie for me, just got me
thinking. I canít tell you what it is because it would be a horrible
spoiler. If you can accept nonsense like Spiderman, Batman, and Superman
as realistic characters, though, this plot hole shouldnít bother you.