Non-Stop ★★★

Spin the wheel during any moment in this film. The needle will stop definitively on “whodunnit” and “thrill-ride” at most points throughout, and yet somehow gets stuck between the grooves of “expected real-world commentary” and "cloyingly obvious symbolism” in the final act’s crescendo. So despite the strengths of this premise-driven popcorn flick, the taste I’m left with in my mouth by the conclusion isn’t so much of the popcorn’s butter, but of the un-popped kernels at the bottom of the bag.

Most of Non-Stop is a fun ride. The actors are much more talented than the premise ever allows them to be, but Neeson embraces his role and keeps up the necessary intensity. The rest of the cast are constantly reinforced as plausibly-deniable red herrings, which sets up an insurmountable obstacle for truly engaging with any of them. And I won't spoil the groan-worthy bit of the final action set-piece - it'll spoil just fine on its own.

The directing, editing, score and effects work are all decent but besides the on-screen SMS notifications that inject a little bit of visual flourish into the mix, the film itself is an all-around nuts-and-bolts thriller with a couple of fresh ideas in the mix.