A plane doesn't seem like the best place to stage an action movie. It's small and tight. Over the years, however, plenty of thrillers have been set thousands of feet in the air. Air Force One, Flightplan, Executive Decision and, thankfully, Airplane! have all primarily or partially been set in the air. Many people are afraid to fly, and if you throw in a terrorist plot, you really have passengers shaking in their boots. The latest of this mold, Non-Stop, stars Liam Neeson and Julianne Moore.
Neeson plays Bill Marks, an air marshall who begins receiving texts messages threatening to kill one passenger every 20 minutes unless $150 million is deposited into an offshore back account. Grizzled and gravelly-voiced, Marks hates to fly, but he makes nice with Jen (Moore) who talks him down when the flight goes off. He trusts her immediately, and, along with several members of the crew, he tries to find the one person who assures him that someone will die. Shouldn't be that hard, right? A plane can only hold so many people, and Marks surely should be able to find the person texting him...right?
As suspicions mount on board, we begin to meet the passengers, a standard array of different civilians. Corey Stoll (drool) plays a cop from New York City, and Nate Parker (drool) is a cell phone programmer. Reigning Best Supporting Actress Lupita Nyong'o appears in a small role as a flight attendant. The media begins spinning events of Marks' past to make it look like he went crazy and is holding the passengers hostage. Man, Bill is having a bad day.
Non-Stop's not as complex as one would think going in. When the terrorist and the motive are revealed, I realized that I was overthinking it. It's just a popcorn thriller set in the air. No more, no less. You want a terrorism plot line where you second guess everyone on board? Non-Stop's the movie for you! You like your Liam Neeson gravelly-voiced, skilled with a firearm and just a bit tortured? Climb onto Non-Stop! I do wish Neeson would leave the action movies behind for just a bit. He's a strong presence on screen, and he's great at beating the hell out of bad guys, don't get me wrong. Give me a thoughtful Neeson again. That would make me really stop and pay attention.