We’re All Gonna Die!

 How many times have you heard that in a movie?  Believe it or not you will hear it again, in this silly, deliciously dumb over the top thriller starring the hardest working action hero in the AARP- Liam Neeson.   Credibility, logic and sense take off in this plane in trouble picture and they won't return for 106 minutes. But what a ride there is in the meantime. 

 Neeson plays troubled, guilt ridden alcoholic (of course) sky marshal Bill Marks who seems so emotionally defeated, it as if Neeson the actor told Neeson's character just how bad the script was.  But Bill and Liam are not to be counted out, and once Bill starts receiving e-mails supposedly coming from inside the plane, warning him that a passenger will be killed every twenty minutes if demands are not met, they both step up to the plate and deliver gruff, earnest heroism.

 

To best enjoy this film, you should not expect too much and put your tongue squarely in your cheek.  Non-stop reminds me of hokey 1970’s airplane movies, and for this reason, I love it.  It uses very modern technology to tell an old fashioned premise and tale.  It keeps you guessing as the plot pushes forward continuingly posing questions. There are over one-hundred-fifty people aboard and anyone could be the terrorist—anyone!!  Including Bill Marks himself, as all evidence points to him.  No one believes that he is actually trying to save them—of course this is exactly what the bad guy wants you to believe-he is so clever.  No worries because a badly stuffed monologue (that should have been kept stowed in the overhead compartment and not so sloppily placed in the aisle) revealing Bill’s sad life story – magically makes every one trust him again.  Oh and the one passenger who is in risk of being blown out of the side of the plane is the one passenger that Bill can save to redeem himself and erase his past.  Such a coincidence.

Non-stop is more of a whodunit than an action flick.  Actually there is not that much action and very few interesting action sequences, with the best sequences coming in the first third and the last ten minutes.  The action at the end of the film is a great pay off for the ridiculous plot twist that comes right before it.  As if! 

 

Some technical elements work and are clever, like the floating text messages, e-mails and other mobile device images being sent back and forth.  They become part of the mis-en-scene in the frame and are not merely viewed in small format on their original devices.  Other directorial choices do not work.  The slow motion shots are so dumb-and usually aren’t at a point in the action where they could be useful.  Also, not since The Lost Weekend have I seen so many ominous shots of booze bottles.

 

There, is however a stellar supporting cast.  Including Downton Abbey star Michelle Dockery as flight attendant Nancy, (isn’t this Karen Black’s character’s name in Airport ’75?) who doesn’t have much to do but look svelte in her anachronistic uniform-is this Star Trek? Still she gives it the old college try.  Julianne Moore plays a mysterious passenger with a sketchy past who Bill enlists to help him in his good guy gig-—but can she really be trusted?  Recent Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o has even less to do than Dockery, but is so incredibly photogenic that she adds fantastic beauty to the otherwise lackluster production design.

The villain, who I will not reveal, is so little, Liam could break him in half and then use him as a swizzle stick for the drink that you know he isn’t supposed to have, but certainly deserves after dealing with the silliness that has preceded the climax.

Non-stop is so much fun!