2018 is projected to be a good year in film. Big names, anticipated sequels and dramatic true stories are all making their way to the big screen this year. In one of the first action movie releases of the season, “The Commuter” both entertains and slightly disappoints.
Liam Neeson plays Michael, a middle-class husband and father living an average life. Wake up, get dressed, breakfast with the family, chat/fight with the wife as she drives him to the train station, visit with the regulars aboard the commuter train, then off to another day on the job as a financial advisor. Unfortunately for Michael, he’s let go five years before retirement, with a second mortgage and college tuition both due.
As he sits on the train on his way home, Michael is approached by a strange woman with a proposition for him: there’s a person aboard the train that doesn’t belong; find them, and receive $100,000. Before he can decide, she exits the train at the first stop. He must decide if he indeed wants to take up the offer, and if the money is worth the unknown result of the person he finds.
If you’ve seen one Liam Neeson movie, you’ve seen them all. Neeson doesn’t disappoint in this film, delivering a strong, believable performance from the start. Unfortunately, he’s the only one. The other actors come across as forced, turning an action film into a drama. And while most of the film is realistic, certain scenes defy logic and the forces of nature, leaving a bad taste in viewers’ mouths.
Overall, it’s not a bad movie. Certain lines, especially in the final scenes, are corny and unnecessary, but the writing is strong throughout. “The Commuter” would benefit from better acting, more realistic moments, and maybe an unexpected plot twist. I recommend it, but on the condition that you wait for it to show on television or Netflix. I’m afraid it’s just not worth the price of admission.