Review – The Commuter (2018)

Liam Neeson’s latest vehicle, partly produced by Amazon Studios, is like slipping into an old pair of trainers. Those ones that have got a few holes, are laced up but loosely enough to not have to actually retie them, that get your socks a bit damp when it rains. You know what you’re getting, imperfect as it is.

He’s an ex-cop turned insurance broker, who takes the commuter train from his suburban home into Chicago every day. After a particularly rough day, and venting about it to his former partner (Patrick Wilson) in the pub, he meets a mysterious woman (Vera Farmiga) on his usual crowded train home. She makes him a seemingly-simple, seemingly-innocent offer.

It’s difficult to say more without straying into spoilers. Needless to say, however, he doesn’t make it home without incident. We get to know several interesting characters on the train, each with their own story, and each apparently with skin in the game.

Neeson isn’t just in danger of being pigeonholed in the twilight of his career; it’s already happened. But he’s not just playing a renamed Brian Mills from the Taken series here. He’s not a one-man army. He’s got doubts in his ability to do what’s asked. He takes some hard punches, and makes some bad mistakes. But this adds a bit of relatability to the character, and he’s certainly no spring chicken. It’s definitely a plus point.

Some of the wide shots as the train passes through the city, then the suburbs, then the countryside, are pretty to look at. The cinematography in such a confined space also holds it own, particularly as Neeson makes his way back and forth along the train; there are some interesting transitions between carriages.

It’s just a shame that the plot doesn’t quite back it up. This reviewer found the climax (despite a good Sam Neill cameo) a little unsatisfying.

But if you like the “Liam Neeson runs around fighting people” genre, this one’s worth a look. Just accept that you’re going to change your socks when you get home.

Three of five spoons. 🥄🥄🥄

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