Title – The Commuter (2018)
Director – Jaume Collet-Serra (Non-Stop)
Cast – Liam Neeson, Vera Farmiga, Jonathan Banks, Patrick Wilson, Sam Neill
Plot – On the train on the way back home after being fired from his insurance salesman job, ex-cop Michael MacCauley (Neeson) runs into the mysterious Joanna (Farmiga) who offers him a financial payout if he can uncover the identity of a mysterious passenger. A dangerous game of life and death ensues.
“This trains’ freaking me out”
Review by Eddie on 04/07/2018
In 2008 Liam Neeson’s career changed.
From more Oscar worthy projects, the esteemed actor instead became an unlikely action star in his later age with the surprise box office smash Taken.
The film against all the odds was a thrilling and proficient actioner that transformed Neeson from a Schindler’s List, Rob Roy and Kinsey actor, into an actor that now was headlining in films such as the A-Team, Unknown, Taken 2, Non-Stop, A Walk Among the Tombstones, Run All Night and Taken 3, it’s quite the career change and one that’s clearly worked financial wonders for Neeson, but one that has increasingly lessoned the respect of the well regarded performer.
Continuing on the trend while he still is physically able to, Neeson has again reteamed with his Unknown, Non-Stop and Run All Night directing buddy Jaume Collet-Serra for new thriller The Commuter, that has the fascinating concept and pulse-pounding narrative of Neeson’s ex-cop turned insurance salesman Michael MacCuley walking up and down a peak hour train trying to unlock the identity of a mysterious stranger before his family are murdered by a mysterious organisation.
The Commuter is a sleek looking production, something Collet-Serra has mastered in his relatively young career but this preposterous experience is a dreadfully dull “thriller” that asks the audience to take more than a few leaps of faith as its narrative pushes along the train line only to derail around the mid-way point, as Neeson tries to look like he cares, in what surely must be a laborious exercise for the star.
There’s nothing particularly smart about The Commuter, the very mystery at the heart of its tale isn’t effectively hooking and its few and far between action scenes feel like cheap knock-off’s of better films (bar a scene where Neeson starts swinging a guitar around as a weapon), making this mid-budget exercise one of the worst of the Neeson-action-naissance, which is saying something when this includes the Taken sequels and Non-Stop.
Final Say –
If the idea of Liam Neeson wondering around a train looking at ticket stubs gets you excited then The Commuter is the experience your looking for, for the rest of us, we’d be far better off waiting for the next thriller train to stop at the station.
1 ½ misused guitars out of 5
Thanks for the warning. Consider myself a pretty serious cinema buff (devour each issue of American Cinematographer) and am very leery of sequels unless the crew has members I highly respect. Or, folks like you tell a tale that is convincing for giving it a chance.
This one is a real bore! I hope Neeson gives these type of films up soon.