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Review: The Commuter

Liam Neeson as "Michael" in Lionsgate Films' THE COMMUTER

Movies like The Commuter interest me since they always promise the potential of a fun and thrilling mystery. As I’ve discovered over the years, there’s a legitimate chance that these features will be horrible, but they can also be surprisingly good if they’re handled properly. Because of this, there’s always some hope from my end going into these things even though I’m unable to allow myself to get to invested or enthusiastic beforehand since they’ve failed so many times in the past.

This centers around Michael (Liam Neeson), a cop turned insurance salesman going through a rough period in his life. While on his daily commute home, the former cop’s familiar routine is disrupted by a mysterious stranger (Vera Farmiga) who presents him with an enticing proposition. Before he knows it, Michael is forced into a job where he must find out the identity of a hidden passenger on his train before it reaches a specified destination.

To be straight forward, I’ll say that The Commuter is the type of movie that could have worked wonderfully if they allowed it to be dumber than it actually is. Now that’s not to say that this isn’t a dumb movie, but making it more comedic or having the action be a bit more sensational could have added to the entertainment value. Instead, it wants to be serious and the violence has to be dialed down in order to ensure the rating that’s inclusive for teenagers is met for some odd reason.

Over the course of its run time, there are many instances where you could have added a few features to turn this into the type of feature film that could be considered a “guilty pleasure” for some viewers. This is where some of the most glaring issues come into play as we get something that doesn’t fully understand how odd it is as it vigorously attempts to remain mature and mostly humorless. As you may see for yourself, nothing warrants that in any capacity.

While I do have complaints about The Commuter,  there are some positive factors at play as well. One thing that I liked about this is that there are legitimately thrilling moments over the course of its duration. There are plenty of times where they’re able to build some suspense as you sit there wondering just how our protagonist will get out of certain situations. That’s something you anticipate, but it’s done better than a lot of the films that we see getting released these days.

Of course, intrigue and conflict are two vital factors when creating a compelling story. Those elements are capable of engaging the audience even in instances where you know what the outcome will be. In situations like ones presented in The Commuter, it seems as if the odds are insanely stacked against the main character, so watching the picture unfold makes this more amusing and watchable than it probably should have been.

Now, I wouldn’t tell anyone to head out to the theater and watch The Commuter. While it’s not what I would describe as terrible, it’s not the type of movie you should be spending your money on. As of this moment, there are much better movies out there that would likely satisfy your need to watch something. And that doesn’t just mean what’s out in theaters. You’d probably be better off watching something from the comfort of your own home this time around.

Rating: PG-13

Director: Jaume Collet-Serra

Liam Neeson
Vera Farmiga
Patrick Wilson
Jonathan Banks
Elizabeth McGovern
Sam Neill

Film Length: 105 minutes

Distributor: Lionsgate Films

Release Date: January 12, 2018

  • 5/10
    Score - 5/10
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