Ricky's Film Reviews

Bringing you honest reviews of recent releases

Non-Stop

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Afraid of flying? You ain’t seen nothing yet..

Air marshal Bill Marks boards a flight from New York to London. Shortly after takeoff, his phone chimes. With a life-changing text message:

“I’m going to kill someone on this plane every 20 minutes, unless $150 million is transferred to this account.”

Turbulence just became irrelevant. And fear of flying can take back seat. Because the situation which is about to unfold is going to blow anything else out of the sky..

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Cast

Liam Neeson – Bill Marks

Julianne Moore – Jen Summers

Michelle Dockery – Nancy

Scoot McNairy -Tom Bowen

Omar Metwally – Dr. Fahim Nasir

Jason Butler Harner – Kyle Rice

Shea Whigham – Agent Marenick

 

 

 

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Tense

The main element of Non-Stop that stands out for me is how tense it is. I’m not kidding when I tell you I was hooked during some scenes – as if I found it difficult to tear my eyes away from the screen. The overall claustrophobic, cryptic atmosphere it created was what I found most absorbing. and like a giant puzzle whose pieces were about to be slammed together, this movie was pretty damn intriguing.

So it’s not the best action movie I’ve sat through, but it certainly delivered where and when it should have done. At certain points, I actually found myself wide-eyed and biting down deliciously on my bottom lip – this is the effect Non-Stop had on me. It was brilliantly consistent and full of the kind of tension only panic on a packed aircraft can produce.

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Mobile Mission

The scene where Jen (Moore) and air hostess Nancy are asked to examine the aircraft’s CCTV and seek out potential terrorist suspects adds nicely to the tension of the movie, and is rather slick. Again, I found myself biting my bottom lip and totally lapping up the ‘so dangerous it’s fun’ atmosphere. The pair – armed with marker pens – have to observe the seated passengers and suss out who may be using a mobile phone, so that Bill (Neeson) can uncover the person who is sending him threatening text messages.

“32B – cell phone”

“15C – on her laptop”

As the women circled suspects, I found myself smiling with pleasure – I was bloody loving this subtle yet important scenario.

 

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Liam’s Performance

Hm…

What can I say other than.. he was exactly the same as any other of his roles: stern, cold facial expression (has Botox ensured his face can only stretch to a certain point?) and his classic monotone voice. Let’s be honest – Liam Neeson plays the exact same role in every movie he stars in doesn’t he.

I reckon he was typecast at the beginning of his career, and it set in stone (like his face, unfortunately). Hollywood is bursting with actors and actresses who each have their own distinctive acting qualities, pulling off  different characters who are so different from each other.

 

EXHIBIT A)

Amy Adams:

Enchanted – sweet, adorable naive princess.

American Hustle – total bitch, sex-fuelled vamp.

 

EXHIBIT B)

Jude Law:

Side Effects – good posture, polite, professinal doctor

Don Hemingway – a walking disaster, emotinal wreck, cockney drunk and disorderly.

 

EXHIBIT C)

Cate Blanchett:

Blue Jasmine – a slumped, nervous wreck on the verge of (another) breakdown

The Monuments Men – smart, nerdy, well-mannered, very believable as a foreigner.

 

EXHIBIT D)

Liam Neeson:

Taken – stoney-faced, stiff hardman. Seems to attract the main female role, but never gets round to banging her. A family man who rarely shows emotion. Monotone voice.

The Grey – Ditto.

Unknown – Ditto.

Non-Stop – Ditto.

I therefore conclude that Liam was exactly the same as most other roles in this movie.

With the same two traits:

Leather jacket

Mobile phone pinned to his ear, whilst wielding a gun

But that doesn’t mean he was total shit – on the contrary, he seemed to deliver his role faultlessly, bringing a whole load of ‘CRASH, BANG’ and jump-fly through the air whilst firing a gun moments. He pulls it off and serves up a healthy amount of nail-biting stuff. If you’re a fan of Mr. Neeson you’ll no doubt enjoy Non-Stop.

 

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Supporting Cast

I can’t fault the supporting cast and extras of this movie. They all work together so well that it seemed like a genuine real-life hostage situation.

We get the classic “yeah man” rude boy passengers, the old couple where the wife seems to be the funniest of the two, a young 7-year-old girl who has never flown before and is scared shitless.. the cabin crew, a slut, a geek, a suspicious Arab, and the frequent flyer – its a pretty mixed bag, but they all help to set the scene and create an excellent atmosphere.

As the movie is set on an aircraft the supporting cast are visible for 70% of its screen time, thus proving every bit as relevant as the lead roles.

 

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Julianne Gets Moore Legroom

Nice work, Julianne.

She doesn’t get a massive amount of screen time, but for what she does get she delivers splendidly.  Almost a cameo, Julianne brightens up the aircraft with her vibrant red hair as frequent flyer Jen. She’s the classic friendly, neighbourly passenger who starts talking to Bill the second he sits down in his seat. The chemistry between Neeson and Moore is natural and they are very convincing as a ‘we just met’ couple.

Julianne brings a mature yet comedic air to the movie – one minute she’s ducking and diving about the plane in sheer panic with Liam, the next she’s standing in the galley pouring herself a very large Scotch. She is slick and confident, adding nicely to the ingredients of cast. The director couldn’t have chosen a better actress to fill the spot, she is the comic relief.

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I couldn’t help thinking as I sat watching her in Non-Stop, how brilliant Julianne would be for a part in Desperate Housewives – and what better part to assign her than Bree’s sister. Both flame-haired and sultry, and she even has that housewife appearance and attitude. I’d like to see that.

 

 

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Guess Who

As well as tension and panic, the movie creates a sheer sense of suspense throughout.

When Bill begins to receive text messages from ‘unknown’, a game of Guess Who kicks off – our main man has to figure out who on the aircraft is sending the messages, as well as get to the bottom of why, and what may happen next. Standing at one end of the plane, he looks down the aisle – and the craziest game of Guess Who begins..

This scenario unfolds quickly and is rather lengthy, but at the same time gives the movie the kick of suspense it needs to keep it flowing nicely. Who is the mystery pest?

The pilot?

A passenger?

One of the crew?

Or someone much closer to home?..

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What ran the risk of being a drawn-out, tedious affair actually became the part of the movie that kept me hooked – I was literally trying to guess along with the character, it was quite entertaining.

..far from the classic game Guess Who however, Non-Stop was more about the main character throwing random people around the aircraft and beating the shit out of them until they owned up. Not exactly, “does he or she wear glasses, and in a bobble hat?”

 

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What Went Wrong?

As with many movies, we get the great stuff – and then the crap stuff. And Non-Stop is no exception. Firstly – the air hostess Nancy. As a character, she’s a much needed part – but what the hell was going on with her voice?! At the beginning of the movie – her first scene – she speaks in a well-spoken, proper British accent.

..which then turns northern.

..then Cockney London.

..back to northern.

…and then back to Cockney London.

I honestly couldn’t fathom what the fuck she was supposed to be, or where from. To be honest, I didn’t really care – but having her wading in and out of various accents next to Mr. Neeson’s husky monotone, it was literally like listening to two members of a speech therapy school whenever they were in a scene together.

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And Bill’s downfall?..

Although he’s our main man and manages to keep the movie flowing nicely, he’s can be bloody annoying at times. Without any form of proof or evidence, he charges at people he thinks may be involved in the terrorism threat – and nine times out of ten, the poor sod he’s ambushed is innocent. But he continues his aggressive rampage through the jet, using his fists at every opportunity.

Unfortunately, it is this exact element of Non-Stop which throws a spanner in the works (or rather – a pigeon in the engine) and slows the process down somewhat. Because whenever his plan to thwart someone fails, or the passengers  / crew turn against him, Bill retreats to the back of the aircraft – and slumps into a corner to have a cigarette.

I suppose there is only so much you can do on an aircraft, but Christ – Bill’s accusations became tiresome, as he continued to jump random passengers again and again.

 

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Teamwork Makes The Dream Work

One scene sees the discovery of a bomb onboard the aircraft – and the panic kicks off BIG TIME. 

But although terrifying, this scene is bloody funny and full of compassion. Bill – along with four or five other passengers / crew members – frantically attempts to stop the bomb from going off, and searches for a way to stop it before the countdown hits 00:00.

As the characters gather round looking down at the dangerous item before them, one of them quips, “isn’t there a wire we can cut?”..

The look on Bill’s face is hysterical.

For a split second, there was an air of hilarity about the situation – just from what the man had said. The audience laughed out loud – this was a dollop of comedy you don’t usually get in a terrorism situation, and actually lifted the mood nicely.

..but then, think about it: all these Hollywood attempts at portraying terrorism – how Hollywood imagines the people would react – they’ve all been the same old shit haven’t they. Constant panic, threat – everyone serious. But to be completely honest, you do get the odd character in real life who comes out with a totally naive, almost stupid-sounding comment in a dangerous situation.

(I probably would too – I think the adrenaline and fear would take over, and I’d probably mumble something about forgetting to finish season 4 of The Walking Dead before I’m blown out of the universe).

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As the desperation continues, this unlikely team of airplane passengers band together to try and disarm the explosive. This scene was actually very tense – seeing a bunch of strangers working together as quickly as possible, to save their arses. But can they work it out in time before the bomb detonates, or will they have an almighty disaster to add to the current situation?..

 

 

 

 

Brightoned Up My Day

On a personal note, I am from a town just down the road from seaside city Brighton on the South Coast of England. I now live in London (you’ve probably guess this from the cinema locations printed on my tickets) – this is why it was a pleasant surprise to hear Brighton’s name mentioned in Non-Stop.

It’s literally a split-second scene between Bill and a potential suspect; he demands to know where the man is travelling. To which the man responds, “I’m flying to London because I have a client in Brighton”.

I felt a homely flicker of comfort inside me (albeit the seagull shit) as I remembered lovely Brighton – gay capital of England, and major tourist attraction. I guess you could say, it BRIGHTONED up my day.

Ah, hahah haaha, har! Oh, I’m witty.

 

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Side-Splitting

One of the best scenes of Non-Stop is when an accident causes part of the aircraft to shatter, and the side breaks off. Jen desperately tries to save the little girl she is sat next to as the child is sucked sideways into the air..

 

..but does she succeed?

This part of the movie reminded me of 2000’s Final Destination. Remember that? Where a bunch of college kids get on a plane to Paris, and the aircraft splits apart, people being sucked into the night sky? The similarity was uncanny. But this part definitely stands out for me – slightly shocking and breathtaking, I loved it. Keep your eyes peeled though, it all happens very quickly. 

 

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Say Cheese

I’m not going to give away the ending, but I will say it is possibly one of THE CHEESIEST curtain-drop’s to a movie I’ve ever witnessed. When the carnage is over and those who survived land back on the ground, the actions and words spoken are cringeworthy. Very cringeworthy.

 

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This movie is very watchable – and it is bursting with action which provides more than enough nail-biting moments throughout. Its best element has got to be the air of tension which flows from the screen at certain points. It blends thriller with comedy nicely, helped along by the great ensemble of cast.

If its action you’re wanting, I don’t think this movie will disappoint; it is full-on. But its no Red Eye, or Flightplan – unlike most other scary thrillers set on a plane, Non-Stop is funny as well as serious. And it is this comedy which makes it that little bit more life-like; how people genuinely react in panic situations. I love a movie which genuinely evokes reactions from me – where my eyes widen, I’m biting my lip, etc. And this one did that.

The fact it is set on an aircraft (nowhere to run / hide) gives it the claustrophobic atmosphere too. Unfortunately, Liam Neeson doesn’t step up or tone down – he is exactly as he always is. Which is probably why the supporting cast seem brilliant. But then it gave them a chance to shine in their own individual roles.

This movie isn’t incredible – but its a great ride, and entertains.

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..but  WHO IS the sinister pest onboard?

Is there a nasty secret behind Jen’s smile?..

Why is air hostess Nancy so nervous?..

A tough-guy passenger seems full of rage..

But then the pilot has a strange glint in his eye..

Are they even onboard?…

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Non-Stop-Lego-Movie-Trailer 

 

7/10

 

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This entry was posted on March 1, 2014 by .
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