Action thrillers are not a staple in my movie-going diet. Nonetheless, I like the ones Liam Neeson stars in , and The Commuter fits his murder conspiracy/ abduction genre.
Insurance salesman Michael MacCauley (Liam Neeson’s character) is a 60-year-old ex-cop turned insurance salesman who commutes to midtown Manhattan every day, familiar with almost all of the other passengers.
On the train home, Michael meets a mysterious woman named Joanna (the always-excellent Vera Farmiga), who claims to be a psychologist researching distinct classifications of personality types. Joanna makes a proposal: a hypothetical situation to do “one little thing”– to locate “Prynne,” the alias of an unknown passenger, who doesn’t belong and has stolen something. No one will get hurt. And Michael will receive $100,000 as payment.
This happens to be the very day when Michael has been unceremoniously terminated from his job. So Michael agrees, only to be unwittingly caught up in a criminal conspiracy that carries life and death consequences.
The Commuter is a crowd-pleaser for viewers who want an action-packed drama that will appeal to adults in the family–especially to those who like testosterone-driven action and impossible leaps and bounds across train cars, simulating Tom Cruise in some of his Mission Impossible scenes and Denzel Washington’s besieged character in The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3. Entertaining without too much violence. The Commuter held this viewer’s attention until the very surprising end.
Note: Available on Netflix (DVD) and Amazon Prime. There is little bloodshed but quite a few choreographed fights, both one-on-one physical combat and ammunition firing.