If Liam Neeson looks a little heavy around the face in Non-Stop, it’s because the whole movie wants to be Gravity 2: Sleep: that force which inevitably overcomes actors (and audiences) caught in the Ground Hog Day of identical action characters with different names and recycled over the top plots with different directors. Sleep pulls so heavy on Neeson that the story actually drifts into a zero g state with things and characters bumping into each other and rudely awakening Neeson whenever an overly placed coincidence decompresses into plot holes or a MacGuffin villain needs mental elimination or physical dispatching. At one point Liam even dreams that it all was a dream and that he was doing serious dramatic acting for Spielberg, Scoresese or even Neil Jordan. Maybe even playing James Bond. Not a chance.
Non-Stop is one of those 30K air thrillers where everybody is a suspect– and you actually hope it would be true. Then they would all take Neeson out and just continue the journey to London– and all this silliness would be over in less than an hour. Nope. Neeson pulls up the passenger manifest and with the aide of Julianne Moore, circles off, x’s through and roughly interrogates the remaining suspects. The least likely winning the honor to do gun battle with Neeson and have their big body sucked out the smallest hole in the airplane.
Adding to the fear of flying is Julianne Moore playing her weaker screen side– a mousy character with a health shadow. This is something Moore’s more catty, assertive, radiant and infinitely more sexier movie personae would have devoured before the inflight meal. Here she is Neeson’s conscience echo and chaste love interest. Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o also is under-utilized as a flight stewardess with little screen time.
Non-Stop gets a C+ from me.