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Movie Review: Neeson Continues Genre Dominance With 'The Commuter'

by Todd A. Smith

 

“The Commuter” premiere after party at The Oak Room in New York City featured appearances from (L-R) director Jaume Collet-Serra, Patrick Wilson, Liam Neeson and Vera Farmiga (Photo Credit: Marion Curtis/StarPix for Netflix).

 

 

Stay True to Thyself 

 

1/2


The beautiful thing about old playas is that they usually are very self-aware.


Many old players do not try to be something that they are not. They simply play their role and play it to perfection.


Actor Liam Neeson definitely deserves old playa status.


The veteran actor does not get out of his lane in any of his films. He just owns the lane he travels in and dares anyone to threaten him or his family along the ride.


In “The Commuter,” Michael MacCauley (Neeson) has made a good life for himself and his family despite the monotony of his existence.


Michael has a job selling life insurance after years as a police officer.


The job pays the bills and the money that it provides is much needed with his son looking forward to college and him having to find money for tuition to a prestigious college while also paying off two mortgages.


Michael’s steady life has become so routine that his alarm clock wakes him up to the same news program every morning.


He eats breakfast while quizzing his son Danny (Dean Charles-Chapman) on his high school reading assignments.


His wife Karen (Elizabeth McGovern) drops him off every morning at the train station.


And for 10 years Michael rides the same train into New York City and sits with the same commuters and talks to the same conductors for an entire decade.


However, just when Michael needs the monotony of his work life to continue in order to provide for his family, the life insurance company that he works for lays him off.


To pour salt on an open wound, the company does not even give him a severance package. They instead offer him insurance as if insurance is going to pay his son’s tuition and keep a roof over his wife’s head.


Scared to tell Karen about the loss of his job, Michael instead has drinks with a former co-worker named Alex Murphy (Patrick Wilson) from the police department.


When Murphy finally convinces Michael to stop drinking so he will not miss his commuter train home, a woman named Joana (Vera Farmiga) confronts Michael on the train.


Joana offers Michael $100,000 if he can use his old police skills to find someone on the train that has stolen something from her.


If Michael takes the initial $75,oo0 that Joana has hidden in the restroom, she will assume that Michael has taken her up on her offer.


Strapped for cash, it is no surprise that Michael takes the money but what will be taken from Michael and the rest of the commuters as a result of Michael’s decision?


News flash.  


For those suspense movie haters that think all of Hollywood’s movies have become predictable and formulaic, check out “The Commuter” because it can be said with the utmost certainty that moviegoers will not know who Michael is looking for on the train.


All of the passengers in “The Commuter” seem suspicious and many of the passengers look out of place, making them stand out as suspects.


Furthermore, edge of your seat suspense has become cliché when describing Neeson’s thriller. But no other term is more appropriate to describe “The Commuter.”


Unfortunately, one of the scenes late in “The Commuter” was too derivative of the classic Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence film “Life.”


But other than briefly drifting into Martin and Murphy’s lane, “The Commuter” rapidly stays in its own lane, or its own track, creating true suspense and true unpredictability.


And no one does it better than the old playa, Neeson.

 


REGAL RATINGS

FOUR CROWNS=EXCELLENT

THREE CROWNS=GOOD

TWO CROWNS=AVERAGE

ONE CROWN=POOR

This article was published on Friday 12 January, 2018.
Current Comments: 0
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