Film: Non Stop
Cast: Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore, Michelle Dockery, Anson Mount, Lupita Nyong’o, Scoot McNairy, Corey Stoll
Director: Jaume Collet – Serra
Unlike some film-makers who don’t believe that a film should uphold moral principles the screenwriters of this French American airplane hijack thriller celebrate poetic justice. How we wish we could see more of this in all films, but alas. Which is why, it’s so satisfying when the hijackers get their just desserts in a most appropriate manner.
The aircraft under threat is on a transatlantic flight from New York to London during which US air marshal Bill Marks (Liam Neeson) is framed for the hijacking attempt even as he is trying to stop it. It all starts when Marks, a grieving near alcoholic and ex NYPD cop to boot, receives a spate of intimidating sms (channelling the psycho-thriller When a Stranger Calls currently playing on the tube) Marks is told that a passenger will be killed every 20 minutes unless $150 million is transferred into an off-shore account.
Marks may have hit the bottle to drown his sorrows but he is not as paranoid as we are. The plane is full of interesting characters and everybody’s a suspect as far as we were concerned and though we tried to emulate a certain Mr Holmes and cross off innocents, we were loathe to give a clean chit to Jen Summers, a charming redhead who changes seats to sit beside him (Julianne Moore) or the airhostesses Nancy and Gwen (Michelle Dockery from Anna Karenina and Lupita Nyong’o from 12 Years a Slave) or Dr. Fahim Nasir (Omar Metwally) or the scowling guy who is glued to his handheld (Corey Stoll from House of Cards) or the couple playing footsie behind Bill and Jen’s seat or….
And then, one must consider the unthinkable: can the utterly likeable hero who hates to fly be responsible for the murkiness? After all, the film makes us privy to his shadow side and worse: he is driven to kill. But is he capable of foul play?
The cat and mouse game and the chills, thrills and spills that ensue serve to clear the mystery. Between the suspense-filled goings on inside, there are lovely shots of the plane framed against the majestic firmament. Then the screenwriters John W. Richardson, Chris Roach and Ryan Engle script a bomb which blows a gaping hole in the plane. Needless to say, the viewer is kept on tenterhooks right to the end.