Nathan is a film critic and aspiring author with a true passion for the film industry who hopes his writings will help launch his career.
Non-Stop 2...sorry, I mean The Commuter....is the next Liam Neeson action-conspiracy film to grace our theater screens. At 65 years of age, Liam is still proving he can kick ass. The problem with the film is that it's so similar to projects he's done before. It's almost identical to Non-Stop and has a few elements from Taken 3. What makes the film good, though, is Liam's fantastic acting and the fact that Vera Farmiga brings an ever present threatening feel to her role even though she's soft-spoken and only has a small amount of screen time.
The Commuter follows Michael, a former NYPD officer who had given up police duty for a comfy job selling insurance. After 10 years of loyalty to the company, he's fired. A lot is racing through his mind, like how he'll be able to pay for his son's college with no job, 5 years from retirement, and 2 mortgages. He takes the commuter train home. On the train, a woman named Joanne sits across from him and sparks up a conversation. Michael thinks nothing of it and kindly converses with her. But then the conversation makes a turn for the strange. She says that in her line of work, she has to answer one basic question: "What kind of person are you?" She offers him $100,000 if he'll find the one person on the train who "doesn't belong". All he has to do is locate the person, tag the bag they have with a GPS device which Joanne provided him, then let her people handle the rest. Michael's financial situation persuades him to take the offer. Little does he know, there's much more going on. The person Joanne is after was a witness to a murder that a lot of powerful people want covered up. They're willing to kill whoever they have to in order to keep from being exposed. Now Liam must locate the witness and decide what kind of person he is. Does he hand this witness over to these horrible people in order to save his family, or does he save the witness and risk his family being harmed?
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The film had a ton of positive elements. The writing and acting were both superb and the director knew how to keep you invested in the film. I did have an issue with the camera crew in one particular scene. After being fired, Michael goes to a bar and has a drink with his friend Murphy. During this whole conversation, whoever was operating the camera must have been drunk. It was unnecessarily being jerked around and shaking so badly that I was almost getting motion sickness.
What really hurt the film most was the ending. There's one final scene that's supposed to serve as a nice conclusion but it just negates every reveal that was stated only a few minutes earlier. It was supposed to be the "aha" moment but in reality it was an "eye roll" moment that should have never been included in the film.
In conclusion, while the film was formulaic and predictable, the philosophy behind it all was outstanding. What kind of person are YOU? Would you take the money or walk away? Would you condemn an innocent person to an unknown fate or risk it all to save them? What do you do when every choice is rigged so that you fail either way? I give the film a 2.5 out of 4.
© 2018 Nathan Jasper