Non Stop has problems. How many times can we watch the talented and tormented Liam Neeson play the same character? Here as the Air Marshall who is to rescue a plane from a passenger who is threatening to kill another passenger every twenty minutes, he has the right emotional life as directed by Jaume Collet-Serra. But the script and its dialogue by John Richardson and Christopher Roach is lifeless and reach for cliché at crisis points where the viewer needs a more original and genuine set up. Being an alcoholic with a child who was killed and announcing his tragic life circumstances to an entire plane full of terrified passengers just does not ring true. Neeson's performance is fine until he has to deliver one of his monologues that just bury the film. And how long can we stay inside a plane and not get bored or airsick ourselves. The cinematography is excellent with this difficult task, but the story line weak. We've all been here before.
Lupita Nyong'o plays an airline hostess, but her talents are wasted as she has little to do. Julianne Moore (Jen Summers) is excellent as a concerned passenger who is smitten with Neeson. But the real surprise and treat is the performance of Michelle Dockery (Nancy). As a British airline hostess she has the compassion down and the glances and caring in all the right places. Her aristocratic upbringing is not on display as it was in her former character on Downton Abbey.
After the pilot dies and co-pilot takes over, we all await the next murder. And, of course, it happens.
But my real quibble aside from script is the need Neeson (Bill Marks) feels to portray the same character over and over again. In Taken he was terrific and again in Taken Two, but his agents have to switch it up and trust his acting chops more. He is a fine talent who has now become a caricature of himself. His agents must not allow this to happen again or he will lose his fan base and respect. Look at the respect Matthew McConaughey has garnered today. He had been rom-com king and said," No." to them. Look at Jeremy Renner who was superb in the Bourne Legacy for his heroic performance and even garnered an Academy Award nomination for his again heroic performance in The Hurt Locker, then he did comedy in American Hustle. Neeson must say, "No!" to these heroic parts or he will fade into the dusk of his native Ireland as his fans mock his pained expressions and each and every role in which he saved the world. The budget was fifty million and while Neeson will not do commercials, he said on a talk show, as though this would be selling his soul to commerce, he agreed to do this schlock in which he is selling his soul to studios. What's the dif? On this same talk show he mocked his own performance with a sinister scowl. Wrong move. While getting a new agent, I hope he gets a new manager. I pray he has more trust in his talents to choose a new character next film and to stop displaying his insecurity by choosing Liam Neeson saved the world parts. Move on, Liam! But skip Non Stop while Neeson is finding himself.
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