Jaume Collet-Serra, Director of Orphan (2009) and Unknown (2011), brings to us an action flick starring Liam Neeson. A gripping mystery which leads to a flat suspense.
Bill Marks, a federal Marshal travels on a respective airline which ultimately becomes hijacked. Receiving unknown texts from a passenger on the plane, Bill is threatened with a murder every 20 minutes. As he begins his mission on tracking this criminal down, Bill finds many false suspects, a drugged bomb and lack of communication from his team. Will Bill find the person on the other end of the line?
Non-stop begins quite exciting at first. The camera deliberately shows long paced shots of certain individuals who then end up on our prime suspect list. The anonymous text messages create a sense of mystery, where like Bill we try to scan across the plane deck to see if anyone looks suspicious. Although Bill keeps this on the low, eventually passengers become irritated of the lack of answers and thus create a distant relationship with Bill. Unfortunately, as the investigation unravels through fight scenes, false accusations and murders, we end up with a very flat suspense. It just doesn’t do the narrative justice.
Liam Neeson plays this drunk odd 40 year old that always seems distant from the people around him. Conventionally, we learn that Bill’s past of having a young daughter who he really cares about is threat number 1. Though, this hardly leads to anything, other than, guess what….another false accusation. Neeson performs a stoic persona where his knowledge and passion for the force is noticeable. Its clear he wants to get to the bottom of this, yet lack of support leads him nowhere. Neeson’s performance is strong in Non-stop, yet there’s moments where his empty dialogue spaces leave us empty and slightly bored.
Alongside Bill, he has a helping hand with a few people who are just about on his side. The air hostess, Nancy (Michelle Dockery) portrays this kind, gentle lady whom cares about her occupation and passengers. She tries to make things run smooth and if that means tracking down the criminal, why not. Stereotypically, she follows orders and does what she’s told to.
Julianne Moore as Jen Summers plays Bill’s friend-like passenger. Her interest in Bill is romanticizing yet there’s something about her we question. She’s always at the back of our minds, as a prime suspect yet we feel mean to accuse her.
The Muslim passenger, whom we unconsciously suspect very first, turns out to be a Doctor. Even though he is pinned down by Bill, Dr Fahim Nasir (Omar Metwally) provides a huge helping hand by identifying victims death and being the heroic doctor on board. Although, its ironic how he doesn’t get as much appreciation on screen as we expect.
Overall, Non-stop is a time filling type of film. With Neeson’s presence, you hardly get to really appreciate any of the other cast, where once the film is finished, you’ve forgotten them already. The build up is exciting, though it doesn’t exactly set you on the edge. You sort of want to just find out who this idiot is and switch the film off. The use of the visual text messages on the screen is visually insightful. Despiteful, Non-stop gives us a flat suspense, where I was honestly disappointed with the consequences.
My Rating: 6/10
Written by: Meera Darji