The Commuter Movie Review
Writers Byron Willinger, Philip De Blasi and director Jaume Collet-Serra fashion yet another thriller to help continue a rather ageing but lethal Liam Neeson's run as an action hero
U/A: Action, thriller
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Cast: Liam Neeson, Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson
Writers Byron Willinger, Philip De Blasi and director Jaume Collet-Serra fashion yet another thriller to help continue a rather ageing but lethal Liam Neeson's run as an action hero. It's Neeson's fourth collaboration with Spanish director Collet-Serra. This time though, it's not vendetta theatrics that engage his attention. He plays a 60-year-old ex-cop-turned-insurance-salesman, Michael MacCauley, working in midtown Manhattan, who faces his toughest challenge — trying to take the Metro-North Railroad home from New York City during rush hour. While on his daily commute home, he suddenly finds everything going off-kilter. After being contacted by a mysterious stranger, Joanna (Farmiga), Michael is forced to uncover the identity of a hidden passenger on the train. Along the way, he realises there's a rather deadly underpinning to it all.
The railroad thriller premise is intriguing, but the haphazard rendition fails to make it count. Michael's backstory takes about 10 minutes of runtime, the rest is all about the commute. There are a few combat sequences, choreographed with pulverising effect, that raise the bar, but it's not enough to sustain attention throughout. The lack of clarity in the telling takes away from the film and the politics of it is too piecemeal to be weighty.
Collet-Serra, though, does manage to tease out the tension throughout the long voyage home. Cinematographer Paul Cameron's shaded colour palette and hand-held effect make the scenes look edgy while the fevered atmosphere is editor Nicholas De Toth's doing. Neeson attacks his part with an eagerness that would put a younger man to shame. And that's what keeps The Commuter afloat really.