Entertainment » Movies

The Commuter

by Greg Vellante
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Friday Jan 12, 2018
Vera Farmiga and Liam Neeson star in 'The Commuter'
Vera Farmiga and Liam Neeson star in 'The Commuter'  

Audiences should know exactly what they're getting into with "The Commuter," the latest exercise in action-packed ludicrousness from Liam Neeson and director Jaume Collet-Serra. The actor and director have previously collaborated on the 2011 amnesia thriller "Unknown," 2014's pulpy plane actioner "Non-Stop," and 2015's mobster drama "Run All Night." "Non-Stop" remains the top Neeson/Collet-Serra partnership, but "The Commuter" is certainly a close second.

This is a ridiculous movie with a plot that becomes more implausible the more you dwell on it. Its absurdity is rivaled only by its action, which includes a scene where Liam Neeson beats an adversary within an inch of his life with an electric guitar, then throws him out a train window directly towards the path of an approaching train on the opposite track. In other words, "The Commuter" is a fucking blast.

A dumb, pulpy pleasure - this is what a January movie should be - a breath of fresh air amidst awards season that never takes itself too seriously and knows exactly what its intentions are. Consistently fun and overall satisfying, the film takes an illogical premise and goes full speed ahead with it. Taking place almost entirely aboard a commuter train, the movie follows Neeson's character on what is perhaps the worst day of his life. After being handed a severance package by his life insurance job of 10 years and escorted off the property by security, Neeson is approached by a strange woman (Vera Farmiga) who presents him with an interesting scenario: What if there was $100,000 hidden on this train that could be all yours, but taking the money requires you to impact the life of a single fellow commuter?

Tempted by the promise of financial stability, our protagonist investigates this woman's claim and indeed finds a bag of $100,000 in cash stashed away in a bathroom's air conditioning vent. By taking the money, he is immediately launched into a heavy conspiracy operation where he must locate a mysterious passenger and tag their bag with a GPS tracker. It's that simple, yet the character's inability to succeed in this task leads to the deaths of fellow passengers and imminent threats to his wife and son. Haven't people learned by now that messing with Liam Neeson's family is a bad idea?

Cue the fist/guitar fights, crafty train-based set pieces and loopy plot developments, firing on every cylinder that exists for not giving a shit. "The Commuter" keeps the momentum flowing, offering 104 minutes of wholly entertaining content that perhaps draws its guns a tad too early (especially regarding the obvious twist), but still maintains a steady aim throughout. It pays homage to Kubrick's "Spartacus" in a hilarious scene, and sticks the landing with a final moment that reminded me of the last shot of 1974's "The Taking of Pelham One Two Three."

But most of all this is Neeson's stage, and he takes full advantage of it. The man's grizzled presence and trademark voice were made for the movies, and I sincerely hope that the actor keeps making silly action pictures like "The Commuter" until he's in his 80s. This is such a stupid movie, and I had fun with every single second of it.

The Commuter

Insurance salesman Michael is on his daily commute home, which quickly becomes anything but routine. After being contacted by a mysterious stranger, Michael is forced to uncover the identity of a hidden passenger on the train before the last stop. As he works against the clock to solve the puzzle, he realizes a deadly plan is unfolding, and he is unwittingly caught up in a criminal conspiracy that carries life and death stakes for everyone on the train.


Runtime :: 104 mins
Release Date :: Jan 12, 2018
Language :: Silent
Country :: United States


Michael MacCauley :: Liam Neeson
Joanna :: Vera Farmiga
Alex Murphy :: Patrick Wilson
Walt :: Jonathan Banks
Captain Hawthorne :: Sam Neill
Karen MacCauley :: Elizabeth McGovern
Gwen :: Florence Pugh
Vince :: Shazad Latif
Jules Skateboarder :: Letitia Wright
Dylan :: Killian Scott
Eva :: Clara Lago
Sofia :: Ella-Rae Smith
Agent Denys :: Damson Idris
Tony :: Andy Nyman
Conductor Sam :: Colin McFarlane
Agent Garcia :: Kingsley Ben-Adir
Danny MacCauley :: Dean-Charles Chapman
Jackson :: Roland Møller


Director :: Jaume Collet-Serra
Screenwriter :: Byron Willinger
Screenwriter :: Philip de Blasi
Screenwriter :: Ryan Engle
Producer :: Andrew Rona
Producer :: Alex Heineman
Executive Producer :: Michael Dreyer
Executive Producer :: Juan Solá
Executive Producer :: Jaume Collet-Serra
Executive Producer :: Ron Halpern
Executive Producer :: Didier Lupfer
Cinematographer :: Paul Cameron
Film Editor :: Nicolas de Toth
Original Music :: Roque Baños
Production Design :: Richard Bridgland
Costume Designer :: Jill Taylor
Casting :: Reg Poerscout-Edgerton


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