Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Cast: Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore, Michelle Dockery, Scoot McNairy, Nate Parker, Lupita Nyong'o
Released: February 28, 2014
I'll first write this review with no spoilers, then give a huge warning when I'm about to go into that territory because I don't want to spoil this movie for anyone who hasn't seen it and may want to.
I love my air disaster movies (Air Force One, Executive Decision, Flight) and this was no exception. It was a lot of fun although there were many scenes where you would be left wondering, "Huh...that seems implausible."
Liam Neeson plays Bill Marks, a federal air marshall who is an alcoholic with a depressing family history. He's on a flight from New York to London when he starts getting texts from someone who claims they're on the plane and tell him they're going to kill someone every 20 minutes unless he puts $150 million into an account number he is given. He knows the person isn't fibbing he's on the flight because he told Bill he saw him smoking in the bathroom. The kicker is that the account number is in Marks name so it looks suspicious and that he's behind the whole thing.
For a movie called Non-Stop, you think of non-stop action and it makes me laugh a bit because there are several scenes of long stretches where it's just Neeson texting and reading his received texts. This is just another movie in a string of films I've watched where texts messages or e-mails or Tweets will be typed out on the screen instead of them just showing a shot of the phone and what's being written on it. The other text happy movies have been The Fault in Our Stars, Chef, and Fruitvale Station and I'm sure there have been others as texting is a huge way of communicating. Don't get me wrong: the texts are threatening and there's eerie music, but they're not the most action-packed scenes.
And every twenty minutes someone does die, but we never see who's behind it and it's always either a set-up or made to look like an accident like when the pilot dies of what looks to be a heart attack, but he was actually poisoned.
There were many people who could have been the suspect because they looked suspicious or Marks had had an earlier encounter with them so all through the movie I was wondering who it was. At one point, I was pretty sure I knew who it was (and I'll get to that in my spoilers), but I was wrong. The movie had me guessing the entire time and by the third act I was dying to know who was behind it. This person (or persons...don't want to spoil it) put a bomb on the plane because they wanted to prove how dangerous flying was and how crap airport security is.
Marks finds the bomb and puts it in the back of the plane with a bunch of luggage covering it and demands the pilot (the one who didn't die!) to fly to an altitude of 8,000 feet because somehow that will....I don't know, do something so the entire plane won't explode. The bomb does goes off and there's a huge hole in the plane and the landing is a little bumpy but everyone survives (except for the bad guy (or guys!). Please. There is no way in hell anybody could survive a plane crash like that. It was so ridiculous. At one point this young girl sitting next to Marks begins to fly out (because the entire ceiling of the fuselage is gone!) and he hangs onto her and pulls her back in. If this happened in real life, everyone would be dead. But despite that, it was a fun movie and I enjoyed it a lot. Now for the spoilers...
DO NOT CONTINUE TO READ IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN NON-STOP AND WANT TO BECAUSE I AM ABOUT TO DISCUSS SOME MAJOR SPOILERS! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED! THIS IS YOUR LAST WARNING!
Okay, so at one point I was pretty sure Julianne Moore was the bad guy, or at least working for the bad guy since we never see her text him. She's sleeping right next to him when he receives his first set of texts and then later she and a flight attendant (Michelle Dockery) are looking at a screen for anyone using their phone to see if they can see who's texting Marks. So I thought it was her husband or someone who was texting Marks and she was keeping an eye on Marks. There are a few suspicious things like she is insistent about sitting in a window seat and sits next to him and she doesn't answer him when he asks what she does for a living. There is a scene in the movie where she does become a suspect and he questions her, but it was all a red-herring. Or you could say a red-hairing. Sadly, I can't take credit for that joke...I heard it on a podcast of a review of this film.
There is a man Marks bumps into when he's getting out of the taxi at the airport and the man asks him where he's flying and I'm thinking, "Hmm, this could be a suspect" and then we are introduced to a bunch more people that could be potential suspects, but in the end, he was one of the two bad guys! So it was the first guy Marks has any dialogue with in the whole movie.