Liam Neeson’s Up in the Air
Like the title of the film, it’s clear that Liam Neeson’s vengeful father roles are not stopping as director Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown, 2011) and Neeson team up once again in the airplane action thriller, Non-Stop.
During a six-hour transatlantic flight from New York to London, U.S. Air Marshal Bill Marks (Neeson) realizes he’s being stalked and threatened via text message over his secured network.
Bill is instructed to transfer $150 million into an offshore account immediately. For every 20 minutes that pass, a passenger will be killed.
Bill’s not so squeaky-clean reputation of being a paranoid, chain smoking alcoholic wasn’t helping his case. The pilot didn’t believe Bill when he explained the precarious situation, not until a passenger was inexplicably killed. Matters unsurprisingly become worse when Bill finds out the account number for transferring the money is in his name and more troubling when he finds a bomb inside a briefcase packed with cocaine. Bill believes he’s being set up and as more and more people start asking questions, Bill quickly becomes the main suspect, even to his boss.
This plane-set thriller guarantees a first-class offering of anxiety, claustrophobia and panic. Somehow, there is room on the plane, especially the lavatory, to have full on fistfights and wrestling for guns with room to fall. As with most thrillers, there are the usual unrealistic components to the story; Non-Stop is no different. The intense turbulence just so happens to be at inconvenient times for Bill, like when he’s whispering to the two people he said he trusted on the plane, passenger Jen (Julianne Moore, Don Jon 2013) and flight attendant Nancy (Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey 2013-2014), to help him spot passengers with their phones out on the hidden cameras. Bill somehow gets by with smoking in the bathroom despite taping up the air vent and live news just so happens to stream on the back of each headrest.
Collet-Serra successfully set up the panic mode in the beginning of the film when Bill is waiting to board his flight and the camera slowly pans across the waiting area and zooms in on other passengers’ varied activities. This passenger panning provides audiences with a large sampling of faces to remember – many races and many ages. Viewers want to instantly deduce who is suspicious and who’s innocent. There is little to no dialogue during these first five or so minutes, which also heightens the suspense. While some scenes were unrealistic for several reasons (and others that cannot disclose due to spoilers), Non-Stop undoubtedly holds up to its name and has you at the edge of your seat, even if it doesn’t double as flotation device. Read more…