Non-Stop (2014): Film Review

Tagline: “The hijacking was just the beginning.”               

Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra and starring Liam Neeson (who played the main role in Unknown, also directed by Collet-Serra), alongside Julianne Moore and Scoot McNairy as the main antagonist, Non-Stop tells the story of Bill Marks, a U.S. Federal Air Marshal who is on a mission to stop a mysterious hijacker from hurting the passengers of the transatlantic flight he is on. When I saw the trailer for this film a while back I thought it’s reminiscent of Taken, most probably due to the choice of casting, but I must say it really wasn’t – it was in fact a lot better than I’d expected.

Bill Marks (Neeson) is a recovering alcoholic who enrolled as an air marshal after being discharged from the police force. We find out that his wife left him and his daughter died of cancer at a very young age, which turned him to relieve his sorrow by drinking. He gets texts from an unknown person who breached into the system on the non-stop flight from New York to London he is on, threatening to kill all passengers one by one every 20 minutes if Bill doesn’t transfer a whopping $150 million into a certain bank account. Things get complicated when it is revealed that the account is under Bill’s name and US Homeland refuse to work with him because of his past and trust issues. Except at 40,000 feet in the air, there is nowhere to hide. The passengers on board start dying one by one indeed, and it is Marks’ duty to stop the unknown villain and save the day.

The movie does a great job of building up the tension and for someone who’d really rather not think this could happen on a flight, I did enjoy it a lot. Julianne Moore plays the part of Jen Summers, who proves useful in solving the equation, despite being suspected as well. Like I said, anyone could be guilty and you can’t trust anyone in this film. Even recent Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong’o makes an appearance as an air hostess on board the flight, albeit not having more than one or two short sentence-long lines.

In true Liam Neeson fashion – he does save the day. And oh boy, does he save it well. Non-Stop is an excellent keep-you-on-the-edge-of-your-seat film, I haven’t seen a movie so full of adrenaline in a long time. It is a constant game of “I’m sure he’s the bad guy” – “Or is it her?!” and for the most part it keeps you intrigued. Anyone could be the baddie and those you are least suspicious of turn out to be the ones most involved. It has quite a few gasp inducing scenes that make you almost shout OMG!, which make this film so gripping.

The only problem I really have with it is the complete implausibility of a bomb going off and the entire aircraft not shattering to pieces, or poking a hole in the bathroom wall through to the cockpit, so someone can murder the pilot through it. However, regardless of these details the film does make for an entertaining hour-and-a-half viewing and I have to commend the filming and editing, considering the tiny space it is set in.

Overall, I recommend Non-Stop to any action film lovers or die-hard Liam Neeson fans, although don’t go into viewing it with a preconception of what his role will be like. Yes, Taken might have completely deemed him as the ultimate hero of the day, but this film is really nothing like it. It’s an excellent ‘whodunnit’ in such a familiar setting for so many of us and I guarantee it will keep you interested until the very end.


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