Sunday, June 20, 2021

You Do Need A Pilot To Know Which Way The Plane Goes-And An Air Marshal To Boot -Liam Neeson’s “Non-Stop”-(2014)-A Film Review

You Do Need A Pilot To Know Which Way The Plane Goes-And An Air Marshal To Boot -Liam Neeson’s “Non-Stop”-(2014)-A Film Review

DVD Review

By Sandy Salmon

Non-Stop, starring Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore, 2014

This is the first film review I have done in a while since I have been more than happy to let the younger writers get their feet wet in the cutthroat dog eat dog world of contemporary film reviewing where everybody who has seen a film and has access to the Internet has become a film critic-at least in his or her own mind and maybe that of their companions. I laugh every time I think about what another old-time film critic Sam Lowell mentioned a while back about the old days when film reviewers if they didn’t just fob the review off on a younger protégé like I have done a few times of late with my own associate Alden Riley grabbed the copy that the fawning publicity departments at the studios put out to the press, dusted off the copy, cut the top off  and put their names there and submitted the damn thing. And nobody was the wiser. Sometimes when I see what the so-called democratic and universal Internet hath wrought I too long for those old days. *  

The reason I grabbed this film, Liam Neeson’s Non-Stop though is because it deals at least tangentially with the aftermath of 9/11 something which at the personal, social and historic level has changed the way we do the business of living in the world just like December 7, 1941 and November 22, 1963 were other such turning points which negated that fresher, newer world we thought we had going for us. Since I am not giving much away about the plot this story line involves the personal vendetta a guy had against the Federal Air Marshals program for not stopping the horrors of 9/11 a result which included the death of his father in the rumble of the World Trade Center. While this plot is fictious there is enough around in the odd-ball world of conspiracy theorists who have built up a cottage industry proclaiming the inevitable new generation of wild boy false flags that had attached to the earlier Pearl Harbor and Jack Kennedy assassination events.  

Of all the people you would not want to be guarding the security of an airplane on an international flight from New York to London one alcoholic, cigarette-smoking lost soul American Federal Air Marshal Bill Marks, the role well-regarded actor Liam Neeson plays, would be a prime candidate. Especially if trouble was brewing. Needless to say, the trouble comes almost the minute the plane was airborne (and before Bill has had his next drink on the quiet). Some techno-wizard had hacked his cellphone and presented Bill with this professional dilemma. Get, get any way possible, 150 million smackers, dollars not a bad number if you are going to essentially hijack a plane and face the death penalty if you fail or somebody will die every twenty minutes. Guess what-the bodies start falling down like clockwork. For a while Bill was befuddled, can’t figure out who or what is doing the dance of death. All he knew was that everybody was a suspect, everybody had to be checked.       
Naturally in a suspense film there have to be a number of false flags, false leads before the real perpetrator or perpetrators are rounded up and neutralized. Now Bill was old-school, an old beat-up, beat-down New York City cop before somebody gave him the lifeline of an air marshal job (despite his fear of flying-oh well) and so he roughed up everybody at 30,000 feet like he was back on the mean streets of the city. Said rough ups producing some deaths which in true false flag fashion are marked against Bill. See the “perp” had figured Bill out for a serious fall guy given his less than stellar profile and had set the poor bastard up to take the fall. To do actions which when the deal goes down will make him look like the guilty party. Bill even puts fellow passenger and eventual love interest Jen, played by Julianne Moore, on the grill. But not to worry Bill once the finger points his way. He gets religion and doubles down on the perps once they up the ante with the old bomb in the suitcase routine, a gag that has been around since about Icarus’s time but which Bill, the pilot, or rather co-pilot since the pilot fell down as part of the dastardly scheme, modern technology and what the hell old fashion grit foiled without too much trouble. Pretty good for a used-up cop fall guy who saved the day against a serious if misplaced grievance. I told you 9/11 made things a lot tenser, made the world less livable in a number of ways. Even in fictional films centered on the topic.

[* I mentioned above some of the pitfalls of  modern day citizen film reviewers and if you Google this film you will find a full array of reviews by those less interested in the suspense of the film than presenting very own theories about Bill in relationship to 9/11 including his having been in the pay variously of the Taliban, Osama bin Laden, the usual CIA deep state gag and the Bush Family Estate. Remember this is a fictional film please, but also remember that there are some very lonely heart folk out there sniffing cyber-ether or something.]   

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