The Commuter Movie Review
Liam Neeson and director Jaume Collet-Serra team up yet again for another transportation-themed thriller, this time putting the tired actor on a train and forcing him to track down a mysterious passenger for reasons I’m still not entirely sure about. The Commuter starts as a harmless concept thriller but derails in the end as it transforms into an inexplicable hostage film that makes you wonder—who is holding Neeson’s career hostage?
The Commuter has something to do with Michael MacCauley (Neeson, playing essentially the exact same character he has played for the last decade), who rides the train to and from work each day with very little of interest happening. But after getting fired, he is offered by a woman (Vera Farmiga, wasted in a nonessential role) $25,000 in cash (or is it $100,000, I wasn’t sure?) to find a person on his packed train. He soon learns that something dangerous is afoot, but if I were to explain it to you, a) I’d have to kill you; b) I’d spoil the story; and c) I wouldn’t be 100% convinced I’m describing things accurately.
Because, I’m pretty sure, The Commuter doesn’t make much sense.
For a while, that’s fine—concept thrillers don’t always have to make complete sense, as long as they own the concept—but similar to Non-Stop, another transportation-themed collaboration between Neeson and Collet-Serra, The Commuter (which also shares a co-screenwriter, Ryan Engle) works for a while until the plot has to matter.
And then it doesn’t. At all.
While Neeson appears to be going through the motions and none of the caricatures—er, sorry, characters—are particularly good, The Commuter is fast-paced and moderately entertaining in a what-direction-is-this-stupid-movie-going-to-go kind of way. But when the plot pieces come together, it’s clear that the filmmakers really didn’t think things through very well. Or at all. The plot holes are glaring, and the plot turns don’t make much sense at all. The climax is a headscratcher, and a lame one at that.
The Commuter truly does derail in the end.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.