Non-Stop, dir. Jaume Collet-Serra, scr. John W. Richardson, Chris Roach, Ryan Engle, st. Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore, Scoot McNairy, Michelle Dockery, Nate Parker
Who's sending hard-drinking Air Marshall Bill Marks (Neeson) threatening messages on a non-stop New York to London flight? Is it the only other A-lister on board, Julianne Moore's nervous Jen? What about the captain played by Bruce Wayne's dad? And that guy from Monsters looks well shifty. Maybe it's Patsey from 12 Years A Slave? Oh look, there's Peter Russo sitting in Economy! Like some all-star(ish) cast from an Agatha Christie adaptation, Collet-Serra piles on the suspicions and serves up enough complimentary red herrings from his hostess trolley of plot to keep us satisfied for the entire long-haul. By now, Neeson can do this shit in his sleep. No one does ageing avuncular action-heroes better. And like most bottle-episode movies, a conclusion that has the writers having painted themselves into a corner is inevitable. Like the restricted and claustrophobic set, there is literally no where to go. Much like Robert Schwentke's Flightplan, the intriguing set-up eventually gives way to a hysterical ending. Collet-Serra uses this first act to deliciously ramp up the tension, applying fancy on-screen graphics to show us Bill's menacing SMSs Sherlock-style. Amusingly, at one point a screen-shattered but still operational device shows us the text, noisy and glitchy, the cracks obscuring a few F-bombs. The $50m/$200m budget to box office ratio speaks volumes, and any film that manages to unashamedly cram an unwieldy, inspirational crowd-rousing speech into proceedings and keep a straight face is surely worth of a little admiration.