Liam Neeson is back in action and using yet more of his particular set of skills in the pulsating action/thriller The Commuter. Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra and starring Liam Neeson, Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson and Sam Neill, The Commuter is released next Friday 19th January and you can check out the brand new clip from Studio Canal here!
We were lucky enough to watch The Commuter last night and it is certainly one way to get yourself through the seemingly never-ending month of January!
The film opens with a montage of shots of insurance salesman Michael (Neeson), a proud family man waking up to his 9-5 daily grind job in the city, discussing finances with his wife Karen (Elizabeth McGovern) and various curriculum literature with his son Danny (Dean-Charles Chapman) who has just been accepted into College. As he makes his way into work on the same train he’s commuted on for the last 10 years, Michael is unprepared for what what awaits him at both work and on his way home. After losing his job and hitting a local bar to drown his sorrows and catch up with his ex-cop friend Alex (Patrick Wilson), Michael gets back on the train at the end of the day before his commute home is interrupted by a mysterious woman (Vera Farmiga) who makes Michael an offer the can’t refuse. There is someone on this train who doesn’t belong there and Michael has to find them and recover their bag. If he succeeds he gets $100,000, setting himself up for an early retirement and also helping pay for Danny’s college funds.
If the plot sounds exciting but vague then sadly, it is. However, despite the vagueness and some dare I say it, similar premise to a lot of Neeson led action films, The Commuter is certainly a lot of fun. Despite almost all the action being set entirely on a New York commuter train, the film is fast paced, clever and intricate. Director Collet-Serra produces some excellent shots, builds the tension and really does manage to do the unthinkable in turning a train into a suitable location for 60 minutes of non-stop action. The action scenes themselves are fun and Michael’s former life as a cop is well thought out, carrying the film and giving it the credibility that a storyline like this needs. Neeson is as bad-ass as ever and it’s very enjoyable to see a plot for a film that relies on cleverness, logical thinking and of course, beating up the bad guys…at one point with a guitar!
Where The Commuter lets itself down though is towards the end. For the first hour and a half, you are completely on board but when the train itself derails, sadly so does the film. The last twenty minutes or so fail to live up to the excitement and the cleverness of the plot and actually goes some way to damaging it. The suicide subplot is literally a blink and you’ll miss it revelation in a conveniently placed news bulletin in the bar that Michael is drinking in and for something that plays such an important part of the film you’re hardly aware of it until the big reveal at the end. The ending is also flawed by a kind of lackadaisical feel by both the cops and Michael’s family. Honestly, I thought Michael’s wife Karen was about to come out with the line “What are you doing down there, Michael?” after derailing a speeding train and saving the day, so yeah, to say it’s an underwhelming ending is probably fair.
The Commuter really is a lot of fun and it is an excellent attempt at creating drama, tension and action in the most mundane of places and that shouldn’t be lost on audiences. The film is ultimately let down though with a feeling of rushing to get to the end and a poorly explained ending which is such a shame because if it had managed to maintain the same levels of cleverness and excitement then The Commuter would have been up there with Neeson’s best action films.
The Commuter is released on Friday 19th January by StudioCanal. Check out the trailer here