Juame Collet-Serra’s fourth collaboration with Liam Neeson is a solid piece of B-movie fluff. This is no great stretch for either film making talent but as a two hour distraction The Commuter ticks the boxes. A guilty pleasure.
There’s no denying it, Juame Collet-Serra is really good at this. He can take really ordinary B movie scripts and energise them. He did it with Orphan, The Shallows, Unknown, Non Stop, and Run All Night. He’s definitely done it here, too, with The Commuter. He can command action and enliven generic scripts with a deft precision that most directorial guns for hire can’t, making them watchable and, dare I say it, entertaining.
Michael (Neeson), an insurance salesman, is fulfilling his nightly routine sitting on a train en route home for the last time. He’s been fired from his job and if his day can’t get any worse, it means it surely can when it comes in the form of the mysterious Joanna (Vera Farmiga) who gives him a tantalising offer: Find out the commuter on the train who doesn’t belong or….
Sporting not one but three writers, The Commuter has absolutely no logic and, thankfully, Collet-Serra embraces the rampant silliness of the whole thing and lets his grizzled star do his one man action machine motif. And that’s the trick, It’s Collet-Serra’s insistence on ramping up the ludicrousness that keeps The Commuter chugging along. Particular points are given to the action choreography (again, ludicrous that an aging insurance salesman becomes a weapons expert in minutes) as it impressively kinetic and well staged.
In a thrift 105 minutes, the film wastes no time in getting into the action – it’s out for a good time and doesn’t get bogged down in exposition. I forsee a ‘Liam Neeson Beating Up People On Public Transportation‘ box set coming in the future with this and Non Stop included.
The Commuter will win no prizes for originality or performances, but it’s certainly not a disappointing or dull ride. All points to Collet-Serra for amping up the more gonzo elements of the screenplay and keeping things motoring along.
THE COMMUTER is in CINEMAS NOW!