The Commuter (2017) Netflix

October 4th, 2023
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir.: Jaume Collet-Serra; Cast: Liam Neeson, Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Sam Neill, Elizabeth McGovern; USA 2018, 104 min.

In his fourth collaboration with Spanish born schlock-specialist Collet-Serra, Liam Neeson, now officially a senior citizen, is still winning every fight to defeat macho males young enough to be his grand children, in a thriller that barely breaks sweat.

Meanwhile COMMUTER‘S writers Byron Willinger, Philip de Blasi and Ryan Engle have clearly binged on classic Hitchcock features to come up with an outlandish premise that suspends reality non-stop. Insurance agent and ex-NYPD cop Michael McCauley (Neeson) is fired from his job five years short of retirement.

Commuting back to his home in Long Island, Michael gets an offer he can’t refuse – or his family will be held to ransom – from the enigmatic Joanna (Farmiga). She will give him $100 000 to identify and place a GPS tracker on a passenger who is not a regular commuter, but who has the McGuffin – a computer drive. After trousering an initial payment of $25 000, hidden in a ‘restroom’, Michael gets cold feet, and wants out. But Joanna is omnipotent, reaching Michael on every ‘phone he uses to call for assistance, and there’s worse: three people Michael had asked for help are killed by Joanna’s  unseen forces. Which begs the question, why does she need Michael at all? As the pace quickens, Michael’s past, in shape of his NPYD partner Alex Murphy (Wilson) and his ex-boss Capt. Hawthorne (Neill) muddy the waters even more. But all will be revealed when the baddies finally catch up with Michael and the rest of his commuters, who are an uninspiring bunch of carbon copies. But there’s no time for details that might actually make us think or feel for this motley crew of suspects (Latina nurse etc). And just as we’ve dropped off, the pyro-technical rail-crash finale then jolts us back to our senses, desperately trying to remember where we parked the car. AS


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