Director: Jaume Collet-Serra.
Starring: Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore, Michelle Dockery, Scoot McNairy, Nate Parker, Corey Stoll, Lupita Nyong’o, Omar Metwally, Linus Roache, Jason Butler Harner, Anson Mount.
Emotionally scarred Federal Air Marshall Bill Marks (Liam Neeson) boards a transatlantic flight from New York to London.
As the lights dim to allow passengers to sleep, Marks receives a series of cryptic messages via a secure channel on his handheld device. “In exactly 20 minutes, I’m going to kill someone on this plane,” boasts the sender. To prevent bloodshed, all Marks must do is transfer 150 million dollars to an offshore account before the deadline expires.
Captain David McMillan (Linus Roache) and co-pilot Kyle Rice (Jason Butler Harner) are sceptical about the authenticity of the threat. Alas, the puppet master’s boast becomes chilling reality and Marks spearheads a gung-ho one-man crusade to unmask the terrorist in his midst.
Prime suspects include seasoned traveller Jenn Summers (Julianne Moore), off-duty NYPD officer Austin Reilly (Corey Stoll), school teacher Tom Bowen (Scoot McNairy), technical wizard Zack White (Nate Parker) and air stewardesses Nancy (Michelle Dockery) and Gwen (Lupita Nyong’o).
Non-Stop is an edge-of-seat(belt) race against time that almost lives up to its name in terms of thrills and spills. Spanish director Jaume Collet-Serra makes light work of the 106-minute running time and he orchestrates action sequences with aplomb. Neeson continues his renaissance as a grizzled yet sensitive action hero, assaulting half of the cast and casting accusatory glances at the remainder.
The script hits severe turbulence when it comes to plausibility. There are unintentional guffaws and some of the twists demand a suspension of disbelief far above the doomed flight in the stratosphere. The clunkiness of the script ultimately sends the film into a tailspin.