The Commuter: Top notch performances and great action make this journey interesting
Movie Review by Annie Cynthia (Rocheston Certified Movie Critic)
Jaume Collet-Serra loves creating mind-bending action thrillers and the thrill-seeking audience keenly wait for his outings. So there was a lot of expectation when the director of House of Wax, Orphan and The Shallows, came up with his latest film, The Commuter and the film does fulfils certain expectations and fails in certain arenas. The action-thriller keeps you glued to your seat and entertains but its inconsistent narrative is its biggest drawback. Collet-Serra casts his favorite Liam Neeson in the lead role. This is the fourth film in which the duo joins hands.
A middle-class man, Michael MacCauley (Liam Neeson) is happily married man with a regular job of an insurance salesman. But set during the time of financial crisis in America, we soon learn that he loses his job one fine day and he is caught completely unaware. He takes the train to commute to work daily and decides to do the same on the fateful day while still coming to terms with his lay-off. Later, Michael boards the train without having a clue that this particular journey is going to change his life forever. Things take a thrilling turn when MacCauley meets Joanna ( Vera Farmiga). In the usual train ride he takes home, she taunts him with a deal to find someone who is a witness to a murder involving corrupt higher officials, in exchange for big money. After a series of event unfold he has to choose with between saving his family or passengers of the train.
Liam Neeson as Michael gives an applause-worthy performance and delivers few edge-of-the-seat moments. Vera Farmiga as the mysterious Joanna manages to exude the right kind of charm and eccentricity required to effectively portray the same. Patrick Wilson of The Conjuring and Insidious fame as Detective Alex Murphy gets to play an interesting character. But we thought that Sam Neill as Lieutenant David Hawthorne does not get much scope to perform and an actor of his calibre is almost wasted in this film. Jonathan Banks as Michael’s friend and fellow commuter, Walt and Elizabeth McGovern as Michael’s wife play minor but effective characters in the film.
While the actors perform, the inconsistent narrative fails to impress. The Commuter starts off as a drama, looks like a thriller but ends up mostly as an action flick. The genre-shifting is a problem but the action scenes are really well-choreographed and appear quite real.
Acclaimed music director, Roque Baños’s background score and especially the train’s constant sense of rhythm is worth a mention. Award-winning cinematographer, Paul Cameron’s use of cohesive aerial shots and varying camera angles lends a certain pace and character to the film.
The Commuter might not be a great thriller yet it manages to keep you entertained through most part of it owing to some stellar performances by the lead cast.