Sunday, March 2, 2014

Non-Stop Review: A Thrilling Whodunit

Written By: Dave

Every year, there is one big release film with a unique mystery premise that catches my attention. Last year it was Now You See Me. This year, it is Jaume Collet-Serra's (Orphan) Non-Stop. In Non-Stop, Liam Neeson plays Air Marshall Bill Marks, an alcoholic on a non-stop flight across the Atlantic Ocean. Once on board, he starts receiving threatening text messages from someone on the plane, who vows to kill a passenger every 20 minutes if he is not given 150 million dollars. Marks is getting desperate as the body count starts to rise, and everyone is a suspect.... 

If there's one thing I really have to praise Non-Stop for, it's the mystery element.. When I say everyone is a suspect, I'm not kidding. Almost every named character gets treated as a suspect at some point, so the film does not pull the "Culprit was the one person who was never suspected" cliche. When the answer finally comes, it makes sense. Admittedly, without going into spoilers, when you find out the culprit's is so ludicrous that even if I thought this was a bad movie, I would recommend going to see this just to hear this motive rant. Added to this is the fact that the film is focused on the mystery set up in the trailer. While some action scenes are shown off in that (as well as the film's poster), things don't go crazy until the climax. Before that, it's all suspense and wondering whodunit. 

Liam Neeson and Julianne Moore really shine in this movie. Sure, Neeson is badass when he needs to be, but for most of the movie, he is focused on finding the hijacker and being a detective. Moore's character of Jen Summers brought a level of humor and warmth to this movie, as she is constantly being happy and supportive towards Marks even as the other passengers start to turn against him. For a film that's sent almost entirely in a relatively small area, the film is well-shot. The interior of the plane has an atmosphere to it, and coupled with the fact you know everyone inside can't run, it almost feels like a horror film haunted house. There are some shaky cam issues in the finale, but given what is happening at the time, I can forgive that.

All in all, Non-Stop is a fun mystery thriller that will keep you guessing until the end. Neeson and Moore are great leads, and the film is such a thrill ride it can help fill up your action quota until the Summer blockbusters start coming out. I give Non-Stop a solid 4 out of 5.

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