starring Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore, Scoot McNairy, Michelle Dockery, Nae Parker, Corey Stoll, Omar Metwally and Anson Mount
screenplay by John W. Richardson, Chris Roach and Ryan Engle
directed by Juame Collet-Serra
Called either “Flight Game” or “Fright Game” in Japanese (I can’t tell which because the Japanese characters can be transcribed either way), Non-stop is about a terrorist bomb plot set on a non-stop trans-Atlantic passenger aircraft. Liam Neeson plays U.S. federal Aviation Marshall Bill Marks. He’s a man with some terrible problems - drink, money, emotional - each one of which ought to disqualify him from work as a firearm-bearing Air Marshall. But he is a good man. Two blackmailers/bombers/hijackers/terrorists on the plane try to frame him for the mounting problems the aircraft experiences as it makes its way out over the open Atlantic. And it works, too. Communication between passengers and the ground makes it seem as if Bill is the hijacking terrorist. The passengers on the plane are convinced of it, and they eventually attack him. But the truth comes out in a standard late-movie twist. It reminded me of Jodie Foster’s airplane movie Flightplan (2005), another story where terrorists make it appear as if she is the crazy one when all along she was totally in the right.
The movie was sooooo boring however. I got up in the middle to go to the toilet and actually regretted having to go back to it. It was good enough to watch to the end, and I didn’t want to skip ahead and miss any of the exposition, because the complexity of the story required attention. But I really regretted returning to it after the excitement of the toilet. (The toilet was more satisfying than the movie.) If you want to follow the story you have to follow the anonymous text messages exchanged between Liam and some unknown hijacker. Things get so confused and confusing that it almost really does look as if Liam himself is the hijacker, that he’s a schizoid personality and the film isn’t showing us that.
It’s definitely not the sort of movie you are likely ever to see on an airplane.