The Commuter
"Intrigue peels away to reveal darker, deeper layers of complexity and corruption. The plot explodes."

Liam Neeson is the master of a certain kind of thriller. You may remember Taken and Non-Stop in which he is sucked into a hostage situation that demands his involvement, even his leadership. What follows will be violent and exciting. As an actor he appears in films that don't always capture the imagination and yet provides a rough surface that is never less than authentic.

He does it again with The Commuter, a fascinating edge-of-seat nail-biter that has qualities most action pictures would die in pain for. That is the man. That is what he does. Impressive is too soft a word. Gratitude sounds better. Always reliable.

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Michael McCauley (Neeson) is the commuter. Every day his wife (Elizabeth McGovern) drives him to the station. In the city, he works for an insurance firm. He is sympathetic with clients. He's good. You can tell. And yet on this day he is made redundant, sacked after 10 years service. No reason given.

He can't tell his wife. Not yet. They have a son about to go to college and a double mortgage, taken out after the financial crash in 08. Without money coming in it's going to be tough if it's going to be anything at all.

On the train back an attractive woman (Vera Farmiga) with expensive shoes takes the seat opposite him. She has a proposal. "A small little thing," she calls it. He listens. She says, "There is someone on this train who does not belong. You have to find him," "Why should I?" he asks. "There is a reward," she says, and smiles.

He thinks about it. A possible pay out of a thousand bucks? Who is this woman? Does it matter? She gets off at the next station.

This is the beginning of something so far removed from a traditional treasure hunt. Lives are at stake. Lives are lost. Intrigue peels away to reveal darker, deeper layers of complexity and corruption. The plot explodes.

Another of Neeson's trademarks is decency and compassion. Action may be the language but the grammar comes from the heart.

Reviewed on: 16 May 2018
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The Commuter packshot
A man finds himself racing against time on a commuter train.
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Director: Jaume Collet-Serra

Writer: Byron Willinger, Philip de Blasi, Ryan Engle

Starring: Liam Neeson, Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Jonathan Banks, Sam Neill, Elizabeth McGovern, Killian Scott, Shazad Latif, Andy Nyman, Clara Lago, Roland Møller, Florence Pugh, Dean-Charles Chapman, Ella-Rae Smith, Nila Aalia

Year: 2018

Runtime: 105 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: UK, France, US


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