Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Since Liam Neeson somehow cemented himself as an action hero (think about it logically - it's like deciding that Tom Wilkinson is a romantic lead - just a bit peculiar) he has made movie after movie of pulpy fluff that really nobody cared about. This is probably one of the better of these movies, but while his agent is clearly trying to make him into the Harrison Ford of the new millennium, he's yet to hit a The Fugitive or an Air Force One out of the park. This is moving in the right direction though and I'd much rather watch an original film like this than another pointless action franchise. This is thrilling, fun and kept me guessing; it's all I wanted and it's all I got.
At times the dialogue is sketchy and the narrative devices blatantly obvious (you get pretty early on that they want you to question every single character, preparing for all sorts of double- crossing), but this isn't really a film to look too intently at under the microscope. From the film's Lost-esque opening, dragging you round the departures lounge to briefly encounter all the characters you'll know in detail later, Non-Stop aims only to thrill. Where it fails unfortunately is when it attempts to do something more than that. There are attempts at giving it an emotional centre that seem a little arbitrary and thrown in for the sake of giving the marshall a human side, but it falls flat somewhat. Add to that a particularly cringe-worthy speech to the passengers toward the end and you do get the impression that this attempt at humanising the action hero was thrown in at the last minute, to try to make it seem not just like it's an action-thriller every second that you're watching it, even though that's exactly what it is.
Spring is the time when films like this slip out. Awards Season is over, the summer blockbusters are still a while away and the gap between the two is when films like this make money. This is filmmaking for the masses, a movie for entertainment's sake and there's nothing wrong with that. Sometimes the hardest thing for a film to do is simply engage their audience and this is perfect in that regard. I can't help but wonder when Neeson is going to get tired of making these films however. I can only imagine what his mother-in-law thinks of them all!