By Jacob Montgomery (Texas)
Liam Neeson has been a master of saving the day, and creaming the tar out of baddies, ever since Taken became a massive hit, and this is yet another film that follows in that wake. Not that I’m complaining one bit.
It’s hard to say because I’ve only seen 1 previous film of his (the underrated 2011 action film Unknown also starring Liam Neeson), but it seems that in me that director Jaume Collet-Serra somehow has the ability to make plots that sound, and are, completely stupid and nonsensical, and yet somehow making them work. When you think about it, Unknown and Non-Stop are not that different. Both stories are pretty far out there, the payoff isn’t as satisfying as it should be, there are gaping plot holes, and so on. However, I think he has managed to tap into a very odd combination of realism and playing fast and loose with the story that really works. And that’s what Non-Stop does, it takes its plot just seriously enough that it’s not cartoonish or completely outlandish, but it also has fun with its premise.
It starts out as a basic plot involving someone threatening to kill people on a plane, and as time goes on the tension and mystery builds, as things only start getting stranger and more nonsensical. It’s that constant threat and claustrophobia that helps elevate this film. Despite the fact that there’s less action than you would think, it stretches the mystery as long as it thinks its audience will tolerate it, and then delivers at just the right moment. As a result, the film is in a constant state of suspense, and it never tires.
The action scenes in this film are really fun. They know exactly how to deliver them in such a way to make the audience gripped and get our adrenaline pumping. The action isn’t too clean but it’s not too bombastic either, and the fights are well choreographed. It seems like anything in this film that could’ve been bad or even disastrous, someone manages to balance out with more good. There are even hints of clever writing and subtle foreshadowing that I didn’t catch up on at first, but will reward repeat viewings.
My only major gripe with the film is the ultimate motive of the person behind the whole plot. I don’t want to give anything away, so I’ll be as vague as possible. Even though I know some people said they left feeling offended, I actually walked out a little confused by it. Maybe it could be construed as being kind of offensive, but it’s too nonsensical and confusing to take seriously. I apologize for being so vague, but that’s all I can say without actually spoiling it.
Non-Stop probably won’t hold up to much scrutiny, but the key to this film is that I didn’t want to hold it to scrutiny. It’s the rare film that actually made me want to accept what was happening and ignore my critical thinking, even though I knew there were plot holes that are barely hidden, and numerous story clichés.
There’s really nothing more I can say to describe Non-Stop other than it’s non-stop fun. I was amazed at how much I really enjoyed this film, and admittedly my score is reflected of how much I enjoyed it, not necessarily how well made it is, but opinions are opinions. And in my opinion, this film is an airplane trip worth taking.