The new dramatic thriller “Non-Stop” opened today, and I bought a ticket to this wild ride. Now I feel a little like Quint from “Jaws,” as I walked out of the theater screaming, “I will never get on a plane again.”
Bill Marks (Liam Neeson from “Taken”) is a divorced alcoholic suffering from extreme bouts of depression – and he is a Federal Air Marshall. He boards a plane with a 6-hour flight time to London and sits by a cute lady named Jen (Julianne Moore from “Don Jon”). He is in first class, so what could go wrong? The airline showing the new “Robo Cop”? Well, something almost as bad. Someone on the plane texts him they will kill a passenger every 20 minutes unless they get $150 million wired to their account.
To further complicate things, the account is in Bill’s name, as if he was the perpetrator. Bill says he is being framed, but most people don’t believe him. The drama developed in a compelling way, moving out radially from Bill to everyone else on the plane. Spanish Director Jaume Collet-Serra (“Unknown”) did a great job at ratcheting up the tension and keeping us guessing who was involved. I was so scared, I thought for a while it might have been me. That’s how claustrophobic all this felt.
I was prepared to hate this movie and write things like, “Neeson has ‘Taken’ the wrong flight.” This kind of story is hard to pull off, and with Neeson’s role in doubt, the whole thing is turbulent. I even started to suspect Jen, but I don’t think Julianne Moore could ever do anything wrong. With these two being the only “name” cast members, much of the drama had to be carried by a group of relatively unknown but amazing talent. This spoiled my usual theory where the highest-profile co-star did it. That always worked with “CSI.”
I can’t remember when I last saw a thriller that was thrilling, but this one was. And for that I must give this movie 4 stars out of 5. Let me know if you are as “taken” as I was.
Tom Basham is an indie filmmaker. Here is a link to his movie review site: http://bashmovies.wordpress.com/