Run time: 106 mins
In Theaters: Friday 28th February 2014
Box Office USA: $91.7M
Box Office Worldwide: $220.6M
Distributed by: Universal Pictures
Production compaines: LOVEFiLM International, StudioCanal, Anton Capital Entertainment (ACE), Silver Pictures, TF1 Films Production, Canal+
Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 60%
Fresh: 119 Rotten: 80
IMDB: 7.0 / 10
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Producer: Joel Silver, Alex Heineman, Andrew Rona
Screenwriter: John W. Richardson, Chris Roach, Ryan Engle
Starring: Liam Neeson as Bill Marks, Julianne Moore as Jen Summers, Anson Mount as Jack Hammond, Michelle Dockery as Nancy, Bar Paly as Iris Marianne, Corey Stoll as Austin, Scoot McNairy as Tom Bowen, Linus Roache as David McMillan, Jon Abrahams as David Norton, Lupita Nyong'o as Gwen, Omar Metwally as Dr. Fahim Nasir, Jason Butler Harner as Kyle Rice, Quinn McColgan as Becca, Corey Hawkins as Travis Mitchell, Nate Parker as Zack White, Shea Whigham as Agent Marenick, Frank Deal as Charles Wheeler, Edoardo Costa as Herve Philbert, Jon Abrahams as David Norton, Amanda Quaid as Emily Norton, Beth Dixon as Older Women, Cameron Moir as Steward, Annika Pergament as NY1 Reporter
With a premise not much more believable than Snakes on a Plane, this slickly made thriller entertains us from start to finish by never flinching once. It may be utterly ridiculous, but it's played with full-on dedication by a gifted cast and a filmmaker who knows how to ramp up tension out of thin air, so to speak. Yes, it's utterly idiotic, but it's so much fun that we want a sequel even before this film crashes to the ground.
Relapsed alcoholic Air Marshal Bill (Neeson) has far too much personal baggage as he heads to work on a trans-Atlantic flight. Still grieving over his daughter's death as he drinks a bit of coffee with his whiskey, his hopes of a quiet flight are soon dashed when he receives an in-flight text threatening to kill a passenger every 20 minutes if he doesn't pay a huge ransom. So he kicks into action-man gear. But things start getting seriously surreal as he struggles to find anyone on the plane who doesn't look shifty. He seeks assistance from steely stewardess Nancy (Dockery) and too-helpful passenger Jen (Moore). But everyone begins to wonder if Bill might be the real villain here.
Filmmaker Collet-Serra packs the screen with red herrings, as all of the passengers fire wary glances at each other, moan about the general chaos of the flight and do all of those stupid things that make air travel so tiresome. The only thing missing is a screaming baby. Not that you'd hear it above the crazed panic this cat-and-mouse situation induces. It's so frantic that we barely have time to wonder how someone could get on a plane with a briefcase full of cocaine. Or a bomb. So we just hang on as the turbulence escalates.
The actors keep things grounded with realistic performances in an implausible setting. Neeson doesn't have to do much more than struggle to maintain a grip on reality, while Moore and Dockery have a great time keeping their straight faces. Nothing about the plot makes any sense if you think about it. So don't! Just sit back and enjoy the increasingly disorienting tone, which cranks up the suspense without bothering with logic. If you can laugh with it, you'll have a great ride.