Sunday 21 January 2018

Film Review: The Commuter

Is The Commuter on the right track or merely stuck in the station?

Michael MacCauley (Liam Neeson) is a mild-mannered everyday insurance salesman. He lives upstate with his wife and his teenage son, travels by commuter train into the city every day and has done so every day for the last ten years, ever since he retired from his previous job as a cop.

After being handed his severance package, Michael's commute home is interrupted by the arrival of Joanna (Vera Farmiga), a mysterious woman who gives him an ultimatum; find and identify the one person on the train who doesn't belong. Do that and receive $100,000 in exchange. However, not is all as it seems and Michael soon finds himself waist-deep in a nefarious conspiracy that goes all the way to the top.

As this is a Neeson/ Jaume Collet-Serra joint (their fourth collaboration in fact), all bets are off; you just know that things are going to fly off the rails at some point, and in The Commuter that happens in both a literal and a figurative sense. There's a scene where Neeson clobbers a knife-wielding assailant over the head with a electric guitar; a collection of misfit passengers who are all treated with suspicion and intrigue; and an inevitable twist you can see coming from 100 yards.

Still, I really enjoyed The Commuter. Much like Non-Stop, the fun comes from the inherent silliness of the premise; the ticking clock, the tight confines of the train, the loopy explanation in the third act that redeems Neeson and puts everything to rights. It's a implausible and goofy-as-hell ride that is never boring. In terms of actual filmmaking prowess, the heavy CGI sequences are patchy and the dialogue is as cheesy as a bag of Doritos, but the film makes up for its failings through sheer fun.

Collet-Serra is a master at pulling you in and keeping you engaged right until the end. If I was being a total movie snob, I could poke holes in the plot and its contrivances. I could snicker at the contrazoom or the increasingly ludicrous lapses in logic. But for 105 minutes on Friday night, I forgot all about everything outside the theatre; my only concerns were right there in the moment, with whether or not Neeson can escape this latest escapade. That the dialogue is goofy or the acting is silly isn't important. I was just along for the ride.

The Verdict: 6/10

Just when you think The Commuter couldn't get any sillier, Collet-Serra finds another gear and continues full steam ahead. Punch your ticket at the door and settle in for a bumpy, batshit insane journey – and just enjoy it for what it is.

The Commuter is in cinemas across Australia now.


  1. I absolutely cannot wait to see this! I am a sucker for a Liam Neeson movie and your review has made me even more excited :)

    1. It might be silly, but can't help but love a bit of Neeson.



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