Reel Reviews: A mystery at 40,000 feet

Liam Neeson has a plane full of suspects to deal with in Non-Stop. - Universal  pictures
Liam Neeson has a plane full of suspects to deal with in Non-Stop.
— image credit: Universal pictures

Air Marshal Bill Marks (Liam Neeson) follows the same routine before every flight: a belt of scotch, a cigarette and a general sense of feeling sorry for himself.

Settling into his seat for a six-hour flight across the Atlantic Ocean, no sooner are we underway when Marshal Marks starts getting text messages on his secure line. The messages explain that someone on board the flight will die every 20 minutes until $150 million is transferred into a certain bank account.

Can Marshal Marks solve the mystery of multiple murders on the red eye?

We say, “If you hate flying, this won’t help the nerves.”

HOWE: I hate flying at the best of times, and after watching Non Stop it didn’t help the cause, seeing as I’m going on vacation to England in the summer. I found some of the action as tense as Neeson did, gripping the arms of his seat on the plane during takeoff. It wasn’t that it was a great movie, but I did find the concept a novel idea.

TAYLOR: And the execution, if you felt the tension. I thought the film was fun, taut and it managed to keep its secrets from me. Non-Stop relies on the old double and triple bluff. The audience, like Marshal Marks, starts watching the passengers on the plane, trying to decipher who might be the bad guy. So we all keep an eye on the angry bald guy, or the Muslim, or the nerdy weirdo. Hey, wait a minute, this film just points out that we’re all paranoid bigots! Well, just wait till you find out who actually did it.

HOWE: Then, when it turns out the people you thought were bad are good, you start looking at the people you trust, like the overly familiar Jen (Julianne Moore) who made such an effort to be sitting next to Marshal Marks, talk to him, get to know him. Ultimately, it could be anyone on the plane but it’s the strangest twist of all that creates the biggest mystery. Half way through the movie, it becomes clear that everyone believes Air Marshal Marks is the one doing these nasty deeds.

TAYLOR: And that’s where things get a bit silly, finally concluding in a very tidy package with a bow on top. I liked the climax of the film, when we learn of who is doing the murdering/hijacking and more importantly why. But immediately after this discovery, the plot diverts from its flight plan and buries itself. Fortunately, this divergence is short lived and by that point, you’ve already had your fun.

— Taylor gives Non-Stop 3 rolls of duct tape out of 5.

— Howe gives it 3 slugs of whiskey out of 5.

The film is currently showing at the Galaxy Cinemas in Vernon.


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