The first trailer has arrived for The Commuter, the latest collaboration between Liam Neeson and filmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra. Neeson and Collet-Serra have now worked on four movies together (The Commuter included), starting with their Hitchcockian thriller Unknown in 2011. The actor/director pair then reunited for another genre exercise in mystery/suspense with Non-Stop in 2014, before joining forces on the mobster crime drama/thriller Run All Night in 2015 and re-teaming yet again on The Commuter, not too long thereafter.
Based on its premise alone, The Commuter begs comparison to Non-Stop in terms of Neeson and Collet-Serra’s previous collaborations together – in the sense that both movies revolve around a protagonist (played by Neeson) who gets caught up in an elaborate conspiracy, trapped aboard a moving vehicle. Whereas Non-Stop features Neeson as an air marshal who must unravel a murder mystery in the middle of a long flight, The Commuter has Neeson playing an ordinary businessman whose life is turned upside-down during his usual commute to New York one day, when he strikes up a conversation with a not-so-friendly stranger.
Vera Farmiga – who previously starred in Collet-Serra’s 2009 horror/thriller Orphan – plays said stranger who crosses paths with Neeson in the movie, as said trailer for The Commuter illustrates. The trailer doesn’t elaborate too much on what happens from there, however, though it’s clear that Farmiga’s character isn’t what she seems at a passing glance and soon gets Neeson caught up in a dangerous cat and mouse game that involves some illicit money aboard the train and an unidentified passenger – whom (based on the footage shown here) Neeson’s protagonist finds himself being blackmailed into killing.
Collet-Serra, speaking to EW, explained what it was about The Commuter script written by Philip de Blasi and Byron Willinger (a pair of relative newcomers) that attracted both Neeson and him to the project:
“We just like to tell the same stories. Obviously, he does other types of movies, and I do other types of movies as well. But we really like to have a movie once in a while where we just do what we like. And what we like is a very tight thriller. Something Hitchcockian and fast-paced, with good actors in it and good dialogue and an interesting premise. It’s sort of like a little puzzle for the audience to solve. He enjoys those kinds of movies, I enjoy those kinds of movies, and we enjoy making them together.”
Between his previous collaborations with Neeson and films such as the Blake Lively-led 2016 “sharkploitation” thriller The Shallows, Collet-Serra has demonstrated a proper knack for making entertainingly pulpy and stylish B-movie thrill rides. The Commuter seems like another chip off the same block for the director and Neeson too – meaning that those moviegoers who have enjoyed the actor/filmmaker’s previous efforts together might want to give their latest film a look when it hits theaters.
Neeson, for his part, has indicated that The Commuter might be one of his final action/thrillers (if not the last one) and will be shifting his focus to more dramatic roles in the future, starting with his performance as real-life whistleblower Mark Felt in this fall’s biopic, Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House. Collet-Serra is also going to be trying his hand at something new with his next directorial effort, in the form of Disney’s Dwayne Johnson-headlined, theme park ride-turned movie adventure, Jungle Cruise. Of course, there’s nothing to prevent Neeson and Collet-Serra from reuniting yet again down the road, should another action/thriller screenplay grab their attention after The Commuter.
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