Opening 13 Mar 2014
Writing credits: John W, Richardson, Christopher Roach, Ryan Engle
Principal actors: Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore, Scoot McNairy, Michelle Dockery, Nate Parker
The basic story is familiar but the surprise developments in the confined space of a non-stop transatlantic flight to London keep us in our seats and hanging on. From his arrival at the airport through check-in and waiting to board, we are aware Bill (Liam Neeson) is an unhappy, troubled man. Over the Atlantic the Federal Air Marshal (FAM) receives the first of many warning text-messages: In twenty minutes someone onboard dies unless $150 million is transferred into a specified offshore account. Fellow FAMs Jack (Anson Mount) scoffs; conversely Capt. David (Linus Roache) contacts TSA (Transportation Security Administration). As the situation escalates Bill realizes the terrorist is setting him up. Flight Attendant Nancy (Michelle Dockery) and his seatmate Jen (Julianne Moore) seem to be his only allies. Following a confrontation, a core group form: computer wizard Zach (Nate Parker), schoolteacher Bowen (Scoot McNairy), the good Dr. Fahim (Omar Metwally), the NY cop (Corey Stoll). The big question is, who is the culprit? With the co-pilot (Jason Butler Harner) locked in the cockpit, and the minutes ticking, Bill pulls out all the stops to save the 150 passengers.
Director Jaume Collet-Serra keeps the suspense peaking by adding visual hints throughout via Flavio Martínez Labiano’s cinematography. John Ottman’s music leads without being ubiquitous; Jim May’s editing keeps the pieces from unraveling too soon. Intense and well acted, the whodunit component assures that this thriller provides good entertainment value. (Marinell Haegelin)