Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Cast: Liam Neeson, Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Jonathan Banks, Elizabeth McGovern and Sam Neill
Running Time: 105 minutes
Release Date: 19/01/2018
From the director of The Shallows, Non-Stop and Run All Night, Jaume Collett-Serra, comes his latest collaboration with Liam Neeson, the man on a mission to save a kidnaped person, foil a devilish plan or bust some heads in every mode of transport available: The Commuter. This time it’s a train, and the 65 year-old again growls his way to solving the problem of “who is gonna get punched first” to nearly every person on the journey. Released right in the height of the award season, this throwaway thriller doesn’t set the world alight but it’s not terrible straight-to-DVD quality you see Ray Liotta staring in (sorry Ray).
Michael McCauley, an ex-NYPD police officer, after being let go from his insurance job in New York, becomes embroiled in a game posed to him by a mysteriously beautiful woman, named Joanna, played by Vera Farmiga. The game becomes all too real with hidden espionage, fist fights in empty carriages, and a steady stream of stare downs with the potential suspects. The action is quicker than you’d expect, even in the middle of a horrendous train derailment, there isn’t a moment to catch a breath. Supported by the likes of Patrick Wilson, Jonathan Banks and Sam Neill, Neeson has solid actors to bounce off of but due to a script which has plot holes bigger than the rats found in New York subways, in places and you’ll scratch your head wondering who is responsible for the cheesey one liners and the over the top plot explanations.
The action set pieces are very well shot and clearly have a unique vision under Collett-Serra, whose last film, The Shallows was actually a favourite of mine in 2016 when it was released without much attention. To continue to have Neeson, a decent actor who cannot be believable as much as we try to want it to be, in a role where he needs to take on guys half his age without much hesitation. The ex-cop role he favours will soon grow tired, and I only hope he can fall into the likes of what Stallone and Rourke have done by becoming stronger actors, relying on fantastic scripts and more realistic motives.
For a decent date movie in January, you cannot go wrong. Just leave before the reveal at the end and you’ll be forever wondering, possibly making your next commute much more interesting.