‘Non-Stop’ Review

Published 9 months ago by , Updated October 17th, 2014 at 9:06 pm,

Non Stop Reviews starring Liam Neeson Julianne Moore and Lupita Nyongo Non Stop Review

With skilled and charismatic captains in the cockpit, and a solid flight crew helping things along, this in-flight movie turns out to be an okay ride for the ticket price.

In Non-Stop Liam Neeson plays Bill Marks, a sad-sack U.S. air marshal who takes a non-stop transcontinental flight to London, only to wind up embroiled in a bizarre terrorist incident. Upon takeoff, Marks receives a text message from an unseen antagonist promising that he/she will kill a passenger every twenty minutes, unless Marks comes up with a way to transfer hundreds of millions of dollars to a specific bank account.

When the threat turns out to be credible, Marks finds himself in the middle of a deadly game on a short play clock. However, the more he tries to get to the heart of the matter, the more Bill Marks begins to sink deeper into a carefully-orchestrated scheme that could cost the lives of all his passengers – and so much more than that.

Nate Parker and Juilanne Moore in Non Stop 2014 Non Stop Review

Nate Parker and Juilanne Moore in ‘Non-Stop’

Right from the premise of its story, Non-Stop is a risky proposition: single-setting thriller in one of the most constricted public spaces imaginable (a commercial airliner); a flimsy device (pun intended) driving the plot (in this case, text messaging); with a running clock hanging over it all. However, in spite of the fact that the movie basically hits just about every one of the most obvious cliches and logic gaps you likely imagined it would, the Liam Neeson action-star brand (with some additional aid from talented co-stars) provides enough fuel to power Non-Stop through to its final destination.

Director Jaume Collet-Serra is best known for adding a bit of extra flair to B-movie material like House of Wax (2005), Orphan - and of course Unknown, his previous pairing with Liam Neeson. Non-Stop hovers at the same altitude as most of Collet-Serra’s other work: more entertaining than expected, cleverly and stylishly executed in many respects, but found to be gliding on fumes when broken down in serious examination.

Scoot McNairy in Non Stop 2014 Non Stop Review

Scoot McNairy in ‘Non-Stop’

On a directorial front, Non-Stop uses tight framing and smart blocking to make the most out of its setting, utilizing the constricted space as an advantageous way of limiting the audience’s ability to scrutinize the shot. The cinematic trickery isn’t enough to completely save the film from a pile of logistical baggage (“How did nobody hear/see that?” “Wouldn’t you be able to spot that easily?”) but it is enough to keep things interesting and urgent from moment to moment, as both Marks and the audience try to grasp the parlor tricks being done by magicians that seem to be lurking just out of frame. The cinematography is gritty and vivid and looks much better than the actual material its servicing – which is pretty much Collet-Serra’s calling card: B-movies with A-movie production values.

Screenplay/story writers John W. Richardson, Ryan Engle and Christopher Roach are all newcomers to the feature-film writing game (Richardson and Roach are reality TV editors, and Engle is just getting into some big film projects). While the trio manage to create a tightly-paced thrill ride and manage to juggle many of the plot points they toss into the air with reasonable dexterity, the lack of experience shows in the in the by-the-numbers turns of the plot and turbulent sections of broken logic that they attempt to coast through by tossing up a new development and/or red herring to distract the eye and mind.

Corey Stoll in Non Stop 2014 Non Stop Review

Corey Stoll in ‘Non-Stop’

The final twists and reveals are a messy affair, well-played by the cast but riddled with so many logical holes – weighted down by heavy-handed pontification – it ends up being a wonder that the story’s cabin pressure held as long as it did. On paper, this movie plunges into free-fall and never pulls out of it, but luckily Collet-Serra and his cast provide a parachute of mindless thrill-genre entertainment to cushion the narrative crash.

Liam Neeson has become the sort of unlikely action star that Jason Statham was in his pre-Transporter days. Seeing a tall, gruff man shove passengers back and forth across a plane while yelling at and/or interrogate them should grow tiresome and ridiculous after about the first twenty minutes, but Neeson’s no-nonsense fatherly swagger (the heart of the Taken franchise) makes it work, and keeps the Irish actor in the control of the film instead of letting his talented lineup of co-stars walk away with each scene. Indeed, much of Non-Stop only functions as a vehicle for Neeson-brand entertainment, but the important part is that with the right leading man in place, it does fly.

Liam Neeson in Non Stop 2014 Non Stop Review

Liam Neeson in ‘Non-Stop’

Julianne Moore and a lineup of solid character actors – Michelle Dockery (Downton Abbey), Corey Stoll (House of Cards), Scoot McNairy (Argo) Jason Butler Harner (Alcatraz), Anson Mount (Hell on Wheels), Omar Metwally (Rendition) and Nate Parker (The Great Debaters) – are tasked with maintaining altitude somewhere between charm and suspicion for the flight time of this Whodunit. Each of them does a good enough job that spotting the culprit isn’t as easy as one might initially surmise; however, when the reveals are done, viewers will be all-too-familiar with some of the tricks and twists that are the rusty landing gears of this unoriginal thriller.

In the end, passengers onboard the Non-Stop movie experience are going to hit plenty of bumpy air along the way, and will have plenty of baggage to sort through afterward. But with skilled and charismatic captains in the cockpit, and a solid flight crew helping things along, this in-flight movie turns out to be an okay ride for the ticket price. Kick your seat back, let that tray table down, turn off the overhead light (your brain) and let this plane carry you to your destination.

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Non-Stop is now playing in theaters. It is 106 minutes and is Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action and violence, some language, sensuality and drug references.

Want to discuss the movie without ruining it for others? Head over to our Non-Stop Spoilers Discussion.

Follow me and talk movies @ppnkof

Our Rating:

2.5 out of 5
(Fairly Good)

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TAGS: Non-Stop

35 Comments

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  1. Is it a Nonstop thrill ride?

  2. Looks good, think this one will “fly”! I’ll be there!

  3. Great review! I’m afraid Liam Neeson’s action star novelty is wearing off. Taken was excellent. Since then, it seems he’s just been thrown into almost identical films to showcase his “specific set of skills”. At some point though, the script has to rise above generic straight to Netflix level.

    • The Grey was a welcome departure from the typical film he is usually pegged for.

  4. Kofi, can we just stop with the airplane puns? Its starting to physically hurt me.

  5. My god, I felt like I was reading a Gene Shalit review, lmao.

  6. I can’t believe he was behind it!!! Just kidding. Haven’t seen it. Happy Friday!

  7. I felt like this review was pretty “grounded”. Though there might be some “delay” in “departing” from my house and “boarding” my car as my interest in this movie has yet to “take off”.

    This is really infectious…I’ll stop now.

  8. bet it would have made more money if they called it taken 3.

    • it can’t be because taken 3 is currently in production

  9. Very amusing. No, genuinely so. I cannot help but feel Mr Outlaw needed that. The spirit of Leslie Neilsen was strong in this one.

  10. Hooray for puns! I Review this review with 4 out of 5 Stars.

  11. I like Passenger 57 better.

    Always bet on black!

  12. Puns. The lowest form of humor. haha. Great review. Screen Rant has some solid reviewers, I’d love to be part of their staff. Great stuff.

  13. so many dirty puns :P

    nice review chief, was on the fence about this, but i might just skip it since to me it seem ‘mediocre’ at best.

  14. The movie is GREAT FIVE STAR ACTION SUSPENSE ,it keep you focus attention that made a good movie lm a very good critic of movie and l can tell you when movie are good or not even the actors were good choose for this movie, at all the time good movies are made by two factors a good history and good actors in particular l never see any bad movie of LIAM NEESON AND JULIAN MOORE EXCELENTS ACTORS THEY DONT PICK TRASH SCREEN PLAY, she is one of my favorite ACTRES SINCE THE RED DRAGON MOVIE, LIAM SHINDLER LIST, AS AN AGENT HE IS VERY CONVENCING IN THE CHARACTER,AN AGENT WHO CROSSING FOR HARD TIMES BUT HE IS REALY A GOOD GUY BUT NOBODY KNOW HE IS AGENT UNTIL SOMETHING UNEXPECT IT HAPPENED, GREAT VERY GOOD, HE IS THE TYPE NONE KNOW FOR REAL.

    • Wow. lol.

      • I will see your wow, and raise you a wtf!

  15. anyone got an explanation on who actually killed the captain? lol

    • Yes he killed himself, because he could not live with the shame, of being part of this movie.

    • I’d love to know that too! It doesn’t explain in the movie. I was wondering if Julianne Moore should be the third person hijacked the plane, but it doesn’t seem to be that way.

      Anyone got an idea?

      • He got shot with one of the poison darts. When Liam Neeson goes into the bathroom to smoke for the second time he finds that little hole that was a straight shot to the captain.

        • Yeah, we all knew the captain shot with poison dart. But who execute it? Since the film didn’t reveal it..

      • In the upcoming DVD extra Julianne Moore’s character is revealed to be the third person in the group who Did shoot dart the captain. She basically thought she got away after the two other guys died. But the Marshall is still on to her, which was why he wanted to ask her out at the end. Missing scene deleted.
        At least the movie got people talking about it, just to try to make sense of the ending and motive. Like how one of the guys asked: why bother with the wait? why not just blow up the plane right away?

  16. Kofi, these puns are out of control.

    • Kofi’s literary creativity really took flight in this one! ;)

      • being that I’ve just started texting, is it even permissible to text on a flight?

  17. Is Liam Neeson typecasting himself these days, there seems to be more and more films were he repeats his role in Taken in another similar film with a slightly different plot… For such an accomplished actor it would nice if occasionally he’d exercise his acting chops in something with a bit more substance?

  18. Bottom line of the movie:

    9/11 victims are terrorists.
    Islam is peace.

    My reaction: WALKED OUT OF THE MOVIE.

    • Just read your comment after posting mine. I felt sick I was that angry walking out of the theatre.

      This movie should be pulled.

  19. You gave it a much better review than I would have. I only went because of Neeson and I still gave it one star. At one point I looked around the theater and I saw some guy looking around as I was and we both just kind of chuckled. IMVHO a very silly movie; wait for netflix, redbox or what ever; just dont pay full price for it.

  20. There will be another “Taken” sequel guys – “Taken 3″. Liam Neeson’s movies are really really fun to watch.

  21. I was very much enjoying the film. Sure it was not deep but I was not expecting that.

    Then the reveal of the villains motive and it took me right out of the film. Very very bad taste and an insult to anyone who lost someone in the 911 terrorist attacks.

    The movie should be pulled from cinemas, so inappropriate.

    I walked out of the theatre angry.

  22. Surprised by how much I enjoyed this movie, it was mostly because of Liam Neeson. This guy is so intense and amazing! :)

  23. u people are ridiculous.. It should be pulled because of 9/11? So now there can;t be any movies about a plane crashing? So 12 years slave should be pulled and any movie hitler, the list goes on and on…
    It’s a movie! It’s not real life..
    GREAT MOVIE BY THE WAY