One man’s terrible day will soon become the biggest fight for his survival in this thriller starring Liam Neeson, who still proves he’s got it.
Every day for the past ten years, Michael MacCauley travels by train from his home in Tarrytown, New York to the big city for his job as an insurance agent. However, after ten years on the job, Michael has been let go. This makes up very upset as his son Danny is getting ready to start college in Syracuse. After meeting with an old friend, Lt. Alex Murphy, Michael makes his train to head home so he can break the news to his wife.
A mysterious woman named Joanna arrives on the train and begins a conversation with Michael. She describes herself as a behavioral therapist who only has one question. What kind of person is the person she is talking to? She asks Michael to do one small favor. It involves someone who she feels does not belong on the train and he will receive $25,000 now and $75,000 if he can identify who the mystery person is. When Michael learns that this is not a hypothetical situation but a harrowing situation, things come ahead when he learns his wife and son may be in danger if he doesn’t comply. This will truly be the longest night of Michael’s life as this deadly game of cat-and-mouse will not only involve Michael and Joanna, but everyone on the train.
Liam Neeson is truly a force to be reckoned with, especially playing the elder action hero type. With the successful Taken trilogy, Neeson has truly made a name for himself and while many will see this as Non-Stop on a train (after all, he does re-team with that film’s director Jaume Collet-Serra), Neeson truly brings that action panache but at the same time, brings something a bit different while Vera Farmiga’s nice mannerisms is seen as just as a ruse as she is the cat in this deadly game with Neeson’s mouse relying on some “special skills” to get through the film.
If one has not figured out “special skills”, it is revealed that after his firing from the insurance company, the viewer learns that Michael, prior to this job, was actually an ex-cop. This may have people up in arms, but Michael is actually quite smart, sort of like a Sherlock Holmes-type as he is trying to deduce who is the person who doesn’t belong on the train and why. This core plot keeps the viewer involved and all the twists and turns truly help drive the film. While we get part of the answer from Patrick Wilson’s Murphy, it still keeps the viewer guessing and that’s what helps make this a good thriller.
Another is the action scenes, which are all set on the train. Neeson relies on his good boxing skills against a few opponents on the train. However, what stands out are two things. One is that Neeson proves here he’s far from being invincible, getting quite a beating at times when necessary despite his ultimate superiority. The other is a highlight action scene, a one-shot fight sequence between Neeson and someone he suspected of being the possible person only to be working inside as one of the villains who must make sure Michael does his “job”. This is great because the actor playing the opponent shows some decent martial arts stuff against Neeson’s boxing and close quarter combat. The finale brings so much together that you may just breathe a sigh of relief but then adds a little twist of its own that ends it on a high note.
The Commuter truly melds a great story that keeps the viewer engaged and guessing, Liam Neeson once again shining, and Vera Farmiga playing a very dangerous villain. Some nice fights are involved as well, but it’s the story here that truly is the heart of the film.
WFG RATING: A
Lionsgate presents a StudioCanal production in association with Ombra Films and the Picture Company. Director: Jaume Collet-Serra. Producers: Andrew Rona and Alex Heineman. Writers: Byron Willinger, Philip De Blasi, and Ryan Engle. Cinematography: Paul Cameron. Editing: Nicolas De Toth.
Cast: Liam Neeson, Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Elizabeth McGovern, Sam Neill, Jonathan Banks, Killian Scott, Shazad Latif, Andy Nyman, Clara Lago, Roland Møller, Florence Pugh, Dean-Charles Chapman, Ella-Rae Smith, Nila Aalia, Colin McFarlane.