The Commuter - Official Trailer | Liam Neeson | Vera Farmiga | Patrick Wilson

The Commuter - Official Trailer | Liam Neeson | Vera Farmiga | Patrick Wilson

We soon learn that Michael isn't your ordinary salesman. It couldn't come at a worse time. The plot mechanics don't matter almost so much as the visceral feelings of strength and relevance that a film like this imbues, and sometimes it's nice just to get caught up in a stupid fantasy.

On his way home after being fired and thereby left in the lurch with a reverse-mortgage that's been taken in order to pay for his son's college tuition, MacCauley meets a woman (Vera Farmiga) who poses a hypothetical scenario. So when he discovers that the hypothetical is real, Michael takes the money in the name of his two mortgages. It will get the job done, but you know they probably aren't very good - or very good for you. "Unknown", "Non-Stop" and "Run All Night" sound so tersely generic as to be slyly ironic, and that hint of playing-dumb humor extends to their gleefully absurd thriller mechanics: All three put rather a lot of crafty thought into their empty-headed pleasures. In total this marks the fourth collaboration between the star and director (which also includes the decent Run All Night and the mediocre Unknown). But he knows well how to shoot Neeson, following the actor's hulking frame from auto to vehicle.

Millions of people everyday doing the same thing over and over again.

Some of the most extreme scenes are seen in the trailer, but the fact that 65-year-old Liam Neeson is jumping from train vehicle to train auto, and successfully hanging on for dear life underneath them, is worthy of critical emphasis. In Non-Stop, because Neeson's character is an air marshall, he knows numerous airplane crew, which helps him narrow down who can be trusted. How is he going to get back on a moving train after falling out of the bottom of it?

Liam Neeson is in Dublin today to promote his new movie, action thriller The Commuter. Outside of some fisticuffs, there's only one large scale action sequence, and in a novel twist, it occurs at the end of the second act instead of during the climax.

Totally-badass police detective this time. That he gets stronger as the movie goes on, though, is a bit insane. Even when Neeson isn't darting urgently from carriage to carriage, cinematographer Paul Cameron (working in shades of five o'clock tan that match the muddiness of the puzzle) makes the talkiest scenes antsy with handheld camerawork; the fevered, no-time-to-think atmosphere is maintained by editor Nicholas De Toth. Say what one will about the material being used by the filmmaker and his penchant as of late to use the same leading man, but strictly from a stylistic standpoint, his films have become low key masterclasses in creating tension and entertainment out of often ridiculous high concepts. There's a pronounced economic undercurrent to The Commuter that's sometimes played for obvious gallows humour and other times as a poignant reflection of the film's protagonist. (It's worth noting that the film is a love letter to that director's work through and through, from Rear Window to North by Northwest.) Turns out that the Federal Bureau of Investigation has Joanna on their radar, that other passengers might be playing her game, too, and that she might have cops in her pocket.

And yes, the material is quite silly, overstuffed, and admittedly predictable. But The Commuter is more about the journey than the destination.

"The Commuter" may be set on the way home after a long, hard day at the office, but this movie feels less like happy hour than work - and uncompensated overtime at that.

The Commuter is released in Irish cinemas on Friday January 19.

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