Freelance writer specialising in serendipity: the art of finding wonderful things by accident or sagacity. Comments and suggestions always welcome!
Published January 11th 2018
Every passenger is a piece of the puzzle
Insurance salesman Michael McCauley (Liam Neeson) is having a bad day. An ex-cop, he's made a successful career as an insurance broker. Even so, thanks to the financial crisis of 2008, at age 60, he's deep in debt. For ten years he's caught the same train and fought through the crowds to his office, but on this day, without warning, he's made redundant. He's on his way home when the beautiful stranger Joanna (Vera Farmiga) sits opposite. She offers him $100,000 to find a person on the train "who doesn't belong" and place a GPS tracker on their bag. She leaves before he can respond but as he tries to make sense of the encounter, his day is about to get a whole lot worse
Somehow Joanna is watching him and when she threatens his family, Michael realises he's been sucked into a murderous conspiracy. At this point, The Commuter is a puzzle filled with red herrings as he searches through the train trying to use logic to eliminate suspects. As the deadline nears and Michael realises he'll get no help from his police ex-partner Murph (Patrick Wilson), the film changes from edge-of-the seat thriller into action-avenger mode as Michael uses anything that comes to hand (guns, hammers and even a guitar) as a weapon before the train derails in a spectacular CGI crash.
This is the fourth time Neeson has worked with director Jaume Collet-Serra. As in the previous films, (Unknown, Non-Stop, Run All Night) Neeson excels as an action star. He's a regular guy but knows the difference between right and wrong and is able to do something about it. Collet-Serra is known for making "B movies" on a low to middle budget but he does it with style. The Commuter presents an intriguing mystery that must be solved in a tight timeframe and the audience soon becomes as involved as Neeson.
Vera Farmiga and Liam Neeson in The Commuter
The Commuter has a few faults. The supporting cast includes Sam Neill as the police captain and Elizabeth McGovern as Michael's wife but their roles are little more than cameos. The plot is convoluted and there are a few holes. Overall though, The Commuter is an entertaining blend of suspense and action – just the ticket for a fun evening at the movies.
The Commuter opens on18 January at theatres across Australia.
Rated M - Mature themes, violence and coarse language