Movie Review: ‘The Commuter’


Director: Jaume Collet-Serra

Cast: Liam Neeson, Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Michael Banks

Plot: Liam Neeson is an ex-cop with a particular set of skills tasked with locating a particular person on a commuter train while his family is held hostage.

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Review: Liam Neeson has gone on one of the weirdest re-inventions in Hollywood history. He used to be the go-to dramatic actor in Oscar bait films, then suddenly he’s the defining hard-arse action man. This latest, The Commuter, sells itself purely on Liam Neeson growling at people.

Anyway, Neeson tends to deliver enjoyable slush. Most audiences will be happy to chill out and ignore the silliness in order to embrace the grizzled badassness. Sadly The Commuter struggles to deliver even that much. It’s painfully stupid and has gaps of logic longer than the train it’s set on. Liam Neeson plays a guy who is in his 60s and has lost his job and is in his 60s (he says it repeatedly). In the first act we get introduced to a few other characters played by recognisable actors, so you’ll know they’ll play a role in the twist later.

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So Neeson is on his usual train and a lady tells him he can have a big bunch of money if he finds a random person with no information to help him. And they’re also murder his family if he doesn’t. The suspense ramps up when it becomes clear that whoever is pulling the strings is powerful and ruthless enough to have any random civilian killed if Neeson gets them involved, and later reveal that they’ve rigged a complicated system to derail the train if Neeson doesn’t follow through.

First question: why not just derail the train? They clearly don’t care about killing bystanders and had the train rigged to derail from the beginning. It would look like that an accident, making it easier to cover up. Just how did they manage to bump off random people at unpredictable points around the city?

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No. This makes no sense. As fun as grizzled, growling Liam Neeson is – and he gets a star just for that routine – but this movie offers us nothing. It’s amazing they got such as awesome cast such as Farminga, Wilson and Banks for this but they’re wasted and only appear in two or three scenes apiece.

Rating: THREE out of TEN

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