The Commuter

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Swanner: Michael MacCauley (Liam Neeson) is having a really bad day. He just lost his job, his wife is a struggling realtor, his son is ready to head to an expensive college, and his family is buried in debt. On his train ride home he is approached by a woman named Joanne (Vera Farmiga) who offers him a proposal: She’ll pay him $100 thousand dollars to identify a passenger on his train. With nothing more than a few clues on who that passenger is, he accepts, till his realizes Joanne has deadly plans for that passenger.

The film feels like a fun Hitchcockian who done it, or rather, who is it. Director Jaume Collet-Serra keeps the tension on high with a fun script, great editing, and impossible cinematography. Granted, the train ride home does go on forever, but with all the white knuckling action, I didn’t care in the least. Even with all the twists and turns, the script never gets muddled down, and with a few hints dropped here and there, it’s fun trying to figure out what’s really going on; or if you just want to let it wash over you, you can.

The majority of the film takes place on the train, so the filmmakers had to make the claustrophobic environment work to their advantage. You also have Neeson being 6’4″ to deal with as well. None of these obstacles were a problem for Collet-Serra who had me on the edge of my seat from the time the offer is made till the terrific breathless ending. It’s January, and for a month that is normally populated with terrible movies, The Commuter comes as a welcome surprise, and should prove you can release good films in the dead of winter.

Swanner: 3 1/2 stars

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