Bill Marks is a chain-smoking, whisky-swigging, down-at-heel guy preparing to board a plane. Surprisingly he is also an Air Marshall: a man supposed to protect citizens in the wake of 9/11. It’s the misfortune of everyone on this flight that an unknown criminal has enough juice on him to target his vulnerabilities in order to try and extort $150 million, else he kills a passenger every 20 minutes.
It’s a cliché of a movie, but Liam Neeson fills the role of the tough cop exceedingly well, although with a penchant for anger and rage, which at times is alarming, not only to the viewer, but also to the other passengers, who have the bloodied noses and bruises to show for it. As for the other passengers – all are suspects: is it the obvious Muslim doctor? Or the NYPD cop? Or the guy who quizzed Bill as he was about to board? Or the smart-ass computer nerd Bill had a slight contretemps with on boarding? Or any of the 30 odd people with cell phones? Is the 8 year-old little girl, who reminds him of his own daughter, a proxy bomber? What about the two trolley dollies – our very own Mary from Downton Abbey or gorgeous Lupito Nyong’o, now far too grand for such a minor role? Or his seat-neighbour, Julianne Moore, who specially asks to sit by the window next to him? Or even the pilot, who has a grudge against Marks. Moore –‘dickhead’ is her favourite word – adds a touch of vulgar glamour and Agatha Christie-like intrigue to the whole affair. We spend the whole movie trying to work out who it might be as the clock ticks and the bodies pile up…
The film is, of course, ludicrously plotted with a pretty workmanlike script, containing as many holes in it as eventually pepper the fuselage, but it is nevertheless a gripping drama with never a dull moment and quite a lot of a laughs. Very slight but perhaps a good DVD or in-flight choice.
In-flight choice? I hear you gasp. Normally it would have been one of the many recent releases that catches your eye as you scroll down the menu; but now, after the recent Malaysian Airlines mystery, I suspect not.
I wasn’t even going to write about Non-Stop– we had gone to see it to take our minds off the third anniversary of our daughter’s death – but with the terrible events of the missing Malaysian flight hitting all the headlines, and the world collectively scratching its head, Non-Stophas touched a nerve in all of us, especially me as I prepare to join Malaysian Flight 001 on Friday. I’m sure it’s the safest airline in the world now, but the point is, you will never know who, or what, poses the most risk. For the record, I said from day one, that it was terrorism, piracy, what you will, rather than a catastrophic disaster.At the moment, fingers point to the pilot, and how can you predict that one? The highest security on earth won’t prevent a politically or emotionally driven maniac from committing mayhem and murder in the skies; it’s happened before and it may have just happened again.