Non-Stop, Son of God – Movie Reviews

Non-StopNon-Stop – PG-13
Release Date: Fri 28 Feb 2014

Non-Stop is a tense, suspenseful mystery where we follow an air marshal (Liam Neeson) trying to unravel who is killing the passengers on an international flight – all while the killer is pointing the blame squarely back on the marshal himself. I recommend it for mystery/suspense fans, but caution those looking for action and a few laughs to wait for a rental.

I was worried by the trailer that it may be giving too much away, but that turned out not to be the case. Julianne Moore, the female lead and the trailer’s “prime suspect” gains our trust early and it’s to the movie’s credit that although there are more twists and turns with her character it never feels like an artificial or nonessential twist. Downton Abbey’s Michelle Dockery plays Nancy, the main flight attendant as a believably terrified, but professional character and House of Cards’ Corey Stoll plays an off-duty NYPD cop among another half dozen new faces that make up the main suspects of the 150 souls aboard.

Viewers expecting humor will find this movie lacking as it takes itself very seriously. This isn’t to say the movie is morose or melodramatic, it just doesn’t use levity to ease the tension or give Neeson a good wisecrack one might expect. I thought this approach worked just fine until the ultimate climax pushed the needle into suspension of disbelief territory. I think a few more laughs would have helped some of the more unbelievable aspects (and all movies like this have them) as compared to what would really happen in similar circumstances.

John A. and I saw it in the theater together and recorded a quick, spoiler-free discussion in the car afterward:

Son of GodSon of God – PG-13
Release Date: Fri 28 Feb 2014

Son of God’s release ten years to the day after Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ is no coincidence. This theatrical released edition of The History Channel’s miniseries The Bible clocks in at a whopping 138 minutes and feels designed as a trap for the faithful who know this story by heart. It doesn’t help that the miniseries’ approach was more in the style of narrations setting up re-enactments rather than dramatization, leaving us with a movie devoid of many conversations or context.

The mini-series is narrated by Keith David, and his voice is never absent for more than a few minutes at a time. In the theatrical version, David’s narration is gone. Instead, we get a beginning and end framing narration from the character of John the Apostle who is shown as an old man at the beginning quickly recalling the entire history of the Jews and then the birth of Jesus, before the movie finally abandons the narration altogether for Jesus’ adult life. It is only after the Ascension that we return to John, as we get something of a mix of his historical story during the writing of the book of revelation along with a visit from Jesus, although this is not the apocalypse or rapture – just a reminder that Jesus will return to make everything new again.

On top of the weirdly constructed scenes left without the contextual narration, the movie suffers from a great deal of digital panning to keep the cinematic aspect ratio focused on action meant for a widescreen TV. The movie will appear to go into “fast-forward,” a common effect that is a byproduct of a computer guiding the frame vs. the camera itself. Strangely, most of the establishing shots of locations like “Jerusalem” are laughably feeble CGI. It seems odd that the studio wouldn’t have re-made these jarringly crude computer scenes in the translation to the theater since there could not have been much of an overall cost to re-purposing the footage.

Cal and I saw it in the theater and did a quick video review:


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