Review for Liam Neeson’s The Commuter
Nobody is going to get upset about a new Liam Neeson action flick. The actor growls about being 60-years old a number of times in The Commuter, and although this is apparently to protest the indignities his character is forced to undergo, it is actually to invite viewers’ admiration about what Neeson is able to pull off. This man can handle himself in a fight with men half his age, and thinks nothing of rolling out from under a moving train and then jumping right back onto that train -but he doesn’t make it look effortless. Perhaps the entire appeal of the rebirth Mr Neeson’s career is undergoing is based on the simple fact that it looks difficult as hell, and film reviewers love it.
The Commuter Over Promises and Under Delivers, Unfortunately
The film was directed by the eminent Neeson auteur Jaume Collet-Serra, who gave us Unknown, Non-Stop, and Run All Night, and initially looks like it is going to deliver more than the usual fisfight, chase, and grimace medley. This, unfortunately, is not the case, and I would advise you to possibly skip it altogether -why not spend some time at one of the top Australian betting sites so widely available right now instead? You may well come away from that exercise richer -something which The Commuter will not be able to deliver by any means.
An Excellent Opening Title Sequence
The opening title sequence for The Commuter is a montage of Michael McCauley’s mornings as he awakens in his beautiful home in Tarrytown, New York, to ride to his Manhattan job on the Metro-North Railroad train.
Initially the McCauley Obstacles Seem Interesting
Of course McCauley’s happiness is soon to be shattered, and the signs of this, at least initially, actually seem pretty interesting.
The back story is that the McCauleys underwent a financial crisis in 2008, and have been struggling to rebuild their lives since then. McCauley is suddenly severed from his job as insurance salesman, and has an ominous encounter with colleagues from his previous job at the New York Police Department.
After this, on his way home, McCauley makes contact with a mystery woman named Joanna, played by Vera Farmiga, who offers him $75 000 to identify another passenger on the train, another stranger.
And Then the Wheels Come Off Completely
Until the scheme by Joanna unravels, or until the first fight scene, there is a clammy, almost hallucinatory aspect to the movie. McCauley is very obviously nothing but a hapless patsy, but his ethical moorings have been knocked off thanks to the financial ruin he is facing. He is in a trap with no escape, and suddenly everything takes on a different cast. The once familiar faces of his fellow commuters, some of whom he has been travelling alongside for years, become slightly sinister, and panic and paranoia are just below the surface.
And then the mood is gone, and The Commuter start hopping from genre to genre like a wild thing. For a short while it is a locked-room mystery, and then it becomes a runaway-train thriller, but the conspiracy at the heart of the film’s storyline is so vast and all-encompassing that it’s just preposterous, and even Liam Neeson can’t save The Commuter from becoming a plain grab-bag of plot twists.