Thursday, January 25, 2018

[Review] The Commuter


The Commuter arrives as the latest action adventure in Neesian fare (yes, I dubbed the term). The film comes from director Jaume Collett-Serra, who also helmed the Neesian vehicles Non-Stop and Run All Night. And let me just say: It's absolutely ridiculous. But ridiculously entertaining.

After suddenly getting let go from his job, Michael (Neeson) hops on the commuter train (after several beers at the bar, of course) to head home. During the ride he's presented with a conundrum (by way of a mysterious Vera Farmiga). She vaguely informs him that someone is on the train that does not belong there, and he must find them before the last stop, in order to claim a $100,000 reward. From there, a head-scratching (to put it lightly) series of events unfolds.

This film is like Neeson on the Metro Express. Phone Booth but mobile. And any sense of realism or believable logic is quickly tossed out the window. The Commuter is a movie that blatantly relies so much on straight-up hypotheticals that it's unabashed embrace is actually kind of impressive (the script even winks at the nature of its crazy and unhinged scenario). The plot stacks twists on top of twists and misdirections on top of misdirections. It doesn't shy away from going the violent and grisly route either, and there are a bagful of super sweaty, intense sequences -- including one where Neeson gets stuck UNDER the train!

By the midpoint, the film gets so wrapped up in outside conspiracies, collusions, and corruptions that it sort of sabotages itself and loses its way. It goes off the rails. I know that sounds like such a clich├ęd and obvious thing to say, but this thing actually DOES go off the rails. By the time it reaches its batshit climax, you've probably stopped trying to figure out who's working for who and who's guilty of what -- all you can really do is sit back and laugh at the spectacle. The film's small bits of humor and subtle self-awareness let us know that the filmmakers aren't too proud to admit that this is bonkers. Again -- it's all hypothetical.

So buckle up for this wild ride. It's worth it just to witness the scene of Neeson swinging away with a guitar.

( 7/10 )


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