“Non-stop” is a French-American action film featuring the 61-year-old Liam Neeson with the 53-year-old Julianne Moore as his potential interest. This is one of those action films that doesn’t when to stop and has an ending that is hard to believe. The cast handles the situation well-enough, but the true delight is learning about the set construction in the DVD extras.
Neeson plays Bill Marks, a former police officer who has fallen into being a U.S. Air Marshal. Marks shows visible signs of anxiety and by attempting to sooth his anxieties Jen Summers (Moore) forms a flight-time friendship with him. The back story is, he’s an alcoholic having been racked with guilt.
There is another air marshal on board, Jack Hammond (Anson Mount). Neither man will give you confidence in the in-air security. Hammond has his own secrets and initially, Marks believes that Hammond is sending him prank messages via his secure phone line.
The messages state that every 20 minutes, someone will die until big bucks are transferred into a specific bank account. Someone does indeed die, but the bank account is in Marks name. Yet we know it isn’t Marks. Or do we? Marks has to work hard, convincing the head stewardess Nancy (Michelle Dockery) that he’s not building a monetary nest egg and the pilot (Linus Roache) and co-pilot are wary.
Somehow, we know that Marks will find out who and why and the plane will land safely enough. It’s unfortunate that director Jaume Collet-Serra working with a script written by committee (John W. Richardson, Chris Roach and Ryan Engle) doesn’t trust the audience enough to let the situation of a mysterious killer in isolation alone. Is anyone so apathetic that the thought of being trapped on board tin can hurtling through space with bullets flying enough excitement for any one lifetime let alone two hours?
I’ve never met a federal air marshal that I know of and certainly not an alcoholic one, but Liam Neeson’s Bill Marks is someone who I could trust. He’s big, he’s earnest and even hitting his sixties he can take on five guys, believably.
Since I always travel economy class, I can’t vouch for the roominess of business or luxury class. Because I haven’t joined the mile-high club, I don’t know if two large men could actually fit into an airplane toilet and have room to fight. I sort of doubt it, but the real moment that took me out of the movie was at the ending when the script had to include one last emergency and yet doesn’t allow us to delight in the landing in Iceland.
The real delight of this DVD is seeing how the set was built and listening to the concerns of director Collet-Serra in filming certain aspects of the script and then going back and understanding the movie magic.
With art by Ted Slampyak (Art of Manliness)