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The Commuter Movie Review (2018) | Finding Prynne

The Commuter movie is a fast-paced thriller that somehow runs on similar rails of Murder on the Orient Express sans the visuals of course. I know it would be wrong to compare the two, that they are set in a whole different universe, the similarity might amuse you.

What kind of person are you?

The Commuter movie brings home real tension that Liam Neeson perfects once again working on the lines of all his previous action ventures like Unknown, Run All Night and Non-Stop. Hold that thought! It is the same director.  Jaume Collet-Serra is known for making movies that stars Liam in his action avatar. If he hasn’t milked him enough, I don’t know who has.

The Commuter Movie Plot (Spoilers)

Even though The Commuter movie carries a questionably built plot, it goes on to feel better as it unspools. The flick kicks off with an ex-police officer, Michael McCauley (Liam Neeson) commuting in a series of frames to his daily life as a life insurance salesman. One day he is fired from his job, and the whole world comes crashing down on him as he sits in a bar with his friend Murphy (Patrick Wilson) confiding in him how life is fickle.

On his way back home, his mobile gets stolen. Entry Joanna (Vera Farmiga) (team Conjuring…Yay!) who cracks a conversation with him. Hypothetically proposing a situation:

What if I asked you to do one little thing?

Her terms being it would affect only one individual on the train, in turn, offering the needy Michael insane amount of money.

Someone on this train does not belong, all you have to do is find them.

In an age where it is hard to afford a reliable detective, bumping into Liam Neeson seems like a much cheaper alternative.

Liam Neeson handling wads of cash in The Commuter

Finding Prynne

As per Joanna, the mission is to find a person called “Prynne” who doesn’t belong and plant a bug tracker on him/her before he/she gets off at Cold Springs stop. Michael ends up finding the bag realizing her terms weren’t hypothetical after all.

When he tries to get off, he is stopped by a girl who hands him an envelope with his wife’s wedding ring.

If you haven’t already figured it out, they are watching you.

Michael asks one of the regular commuters Walt (Jonathan Banks) for help by writing it in a newspaper. Joanna already knows. (How?) She gets Walt killed.

Finding a man suspicious, he tags him with the tracker after getting into a fight with him.

Michael calls Murphy to ask him about Prynne. He is told that Prynne is a key witness to a suicide case of Enrique Mendez. Figuring out that Joanna is after Prynne because she wishes to kill him, Michael restarts his search. But he finds the same man he had tagged dead inside the train. He figures that the dead man wasn’t Prynne but an FBI agent who was killed because he had tagged him.

Who is Prynne in The Commuter Movie

Michael shuts down the AC forcing everyone into the same compartment. There he speaks loudly proposing the same hypothetical case that Joanna had presented him with. A man leaves the compartment making Michael smell something fishy. In an attempt to find out if he was Prynne, he follows him. He realizes that the man wasn’t Prynne but an assassin named Oliver hired to kill Prynne. Oliver (Kobna Holdbrook-Smith) demands Michael to tell him who Prynne is. But he refuses and a scuffle breaks loose as Michael throws the assassin out of the window.

Later in the compartment, Prynne is revealed to be a girl called Sofia. She had a flash drive with information that would have affected some really powerful people, and was going to witness protection at the final stop (Cold Springs) of the train. On being asked why she did not go to the police, Sofia said that it was the police who had killed Enrique. She had heard the killer say:

You tried to do the noble thing, but there’s no such thing as noble.

The Final Showdown

Joanna calls Michael once again threatening to kill his family if he doesn’t kill Prynne. Michael refuses. Overtaken by madness Joanna derails the train. Bad CGI btw. The train looks like a toy when that happens.

Michael unhooks the final car from the train saving all the passengers. However, Michael warns them from getting out that their lives were still at risk. He asks them to stick newspapers on the windows.

Patrick Wilson in The Commuter movie

Captain Hawthorne (Sam Neill) approaches with his cavalry convinced that Michael has gone rogue and is holding the passengers as hostages inside the compartment. Murphy is sent as a negotiator. There he uses the same ‘noble’ phrase making them figure out Murphy to be Enrique’s killer.

Murphy asks Prynne to step out but everyone starts to claim themselves as Prynne. He shoots a random guy when Michael engages in a fist to fist combat with him. He then removes the police tracker from Murphy making the Police Sniper consider Michael as friendly. Murphy is shot.

Outside Michael meets his family as Sofia tells the police what she knows. Hawthorne tells Michael that he misses him on the force.

In a sort of an epilogue, we see Joanna commuting in a train when Michael shows up in a similar manner. She defies him saying what’s going to happen when Michael shows her his police badge.

Just one little thing.

the commuter movie scene liam neeson and vera farmiga

Issues with the Flick

Vera Farmiga feels like the devil, somehow knowing everything upfront with little plausible explanations.

The VFX department in The Commuter movie suffers too during the final moments when the train derails. Even though it’s something manageable and you can overlook it, the plot goes on and on. It is in those final moments that it tries to tell its story. Well, somehow I am still convinced that we could have used some of the important bits surrounding the climax in the prologue itself. For instance, the audience really doesn’t care who Enrique is. So a frame to show what had happened would have been good in the beginning.

Liam Neeson does a great job as a confused and helpless Michael. Both Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson are amazing at their bits. You see the climax coming from far away, although it boils down to words and only words. If you don’t theatricalize it, people often lose interest.

The Final Verdict

The Commuter movie is a good thrilling entertainer. It will keep you on your toes as you keep guessing. It isn’t, of course, on the levels of extraordinaire but it still manages to tell a tale by keeping things under wrap. I still think it could have been made better. Can be watched.

The Shallows Review (2016) | Shark vs Human | A Survival Tale

Shark vs Human. That’s how I would like to outline The Shallows movie. For a survival tale it isn’t exactly great, but it is still somewhere. There is gore entailed, which is perfectly normal given the theme it packs in, and carries forever a thrilling element to see if the human, Nancy played by Blake Lively, makes it, beating a rampaging monstrous shark that has her tagged for kill.

SHALLOW PLOT OF THE SHALLOWS (SPOILERS)

As you might have already guessed, there isn’t much to the plot of the movie. Basically the following gif is it:

animation of the shark surrounding blake lively the shallows movieEven though Jaume Collet-Serra tries to show little inconsequential backdrop on Nancy’s life via social apps, we learn nothing new. Except for the fact that her mother was pregnant with her when she had visited an unheard of, unfrequented paradise. A beach so gorgeous that it is hard to believe, few knew about it.

When Nancy looks at the mountains yonder, she points out how the beach is of colossal importance to her. She compares it to an image of her mother when she had once carried her in her womb.

“Doesn’t it look like a pregnant woman? To me it does.”

SHARK VS THE HOTTIE

Surfing and searching for bigger waves she leaves the shallows venturing further in, only to find a decimated whale carcass afloat. Out of sheer curiosity she moves toward it, and ends up with a gargantuan great white shark on her tail. The shark rips her leg in one violent rush.

Shark 1 – Human 0

the shallows movie

She finds herself a good spot on a small rock but is left to the mercy of tides. She staples her spine-chilling wound up like a pro. One point to human.

Stranded she then calls for help when she finds a drunk man sleeping on the beach. The man wakes up to her call.

One more point to Human.

THIEF’S POETIC JUSTICE

He looks at her and waves back. Okay don’t scratch that point just yet. She points him towards her stuff. He moves towards it. Things look promising. But then he steals everything she had in her bag, and begins to abscond. In the backdrop, the Shark with folded fins can’t suppress its laughter. The man finds her surfboard, tries to steal that too. She tries to warn him about the shark. But he was taught by only the best badass generation of thieves.

“Don’t leave anything!”

So he swims towards to take it, and pow the shark prances. The man disappears only to return to the beach again, to sleep again. But this time only half of his body makes it.

Shark 2 – Human 2

The new dawn arrives bringing two fellow surfers she had come across the previous day. She tries to warn them, but they are unable to understand or hear her for that to matter. One of the most thrilling scenes of the movie occur when the shark pounces on one of them mid-air making him disappear in a single munch.

Shark 3 – Human 2

The other guy looks as if he could make it, then he disappears too, only to be savagely mutilated by jaws. Blood paints the water.

Shark 4 – Human 2

CONFINED SCREENPLAY

Being a movie that is solely forsaken to the mercy of the Sea, there isn’t much to the screenplay. Except for crazy jabber that Nancy makes with herself. She finds a certain injured gull that keeps her constant company when she finds herself surrounded by deadly jaws. Making the most out of her stranded situation she calls it “Steven Seagal”.

Human 1 – Seagull 0

the shallows movie stranded scene blake lively with seagull

Being a medical student she saves Mr. Seagal from its misery eventually.

Human 2 – Seagull 0

Pathetic dumb seagull! Totally worthless it stood there. Just watching crime in 3D!

THE BATTLE CONTINUES

Nancy finds a camera. Yay! Now she can have all the selfies in the world with her new friend. But it’s more of a recorder. So, she records her sobs, more like a message to her parents, and in a vain attempt throws it into the water again. Shark doesn’t understand the gizmo world. So. Human 3.

In comes the partial referee, nature. Tide bothers Nancy, and she prepares to set up for a nearby buoy. She times the white death well enough, as it makes a run to and fro – from the whale carcass to her, just to check on how she’s doing. Then when she finds a window of opportunity she makes a run for it reaching the buoy safely after battling a hoard of jellyfish. What was the score again? Oh, right!

Shark 4 – Human 4

ON THE BUOY

She finds a flare gun. Yay again! She has limited bullets though. Boo!

She shoots one for help but unfortunately it was a dud bullet. Shoots one at the whale carcass oil, and we see the great white on fire. Sheer badass scene! Die you monster, die!

Shark 4 – Human 5

But the smart shark was well aware of the fact that water was its abode. So it dives to put it out at once. Score levels again.

Shark 5 – Human 5

still of blake lively as nancy in pain in the water

Nothing happens. Furious and mad the shark destroys the buoy. All those iron rods chomped off to pieces as if they were nothing. It is like the Godzilla of water.

Shark 6 – Human 5

Nancy finds a rod and attacks the poor fish by it. One more point to Human.

FINISHER

Then she looks at a chain that bound the buoy, and that little bulb above her head glows. She catches hold of it, in a rebound that pulls her into the ocean with the shark still in pursuit. Just when she was about to hit, she moves away forcing the dumb blind shark to hit some pointy rods in the seabed. That scene by the way looked really animated.

So finally, she slays the beast, and gets away with murder. Human 7. She makes it out alive. One more point there!

Shark 6 – Human 8

The undefeated champ sets out for sea again. Now that’s messed up lady! The shark Union is complaining already.

DIRECTION

When the director is more concerned about showing close up shots of Blake Lively’s perfect ass, you wonder if he really bothers to care about the actual mishap. He lingers his camera so much there that you actually begin to wonder, with all that screen time maybe her bum might get a solo gig of its own. Maybe become a star and leave Blake Lively forever.

Then again when you try to see Jaume Collet-Serra’s subtlety, there is plenty there. Like when the camera goes underwater the music stops, just how it stays in reality. Glimpses, hints and hazy contours of the shark are spread throughout the flick, that never properly shows us the full-blown version. It is a subtle way of depiction like from a human perception, that Jaume aces.

Its DVD is out. You can buy it from Amazon, here:

THE FINAL VERDICT

The Shallows literally breathes on terror. You can’t help but place yourself in Nancy’s shoes and wonder what if that happened to you. Terrifying!

In the end however, The Shallows ends up becoming nothing but an oddly visible contrivance. To depict dope theatrics, Jaume sips out naturalism too much. Despite Blake Lively’s outstanding performance, The Shallows movie fails to reach the levels of awesomeness.

Whatever the case might be, let’s not forget the latest shark movie is to put our forgotten fear back in place. It is at least better than all those cheesy stupid shark movies that we have been served so far.

Here you can check the movie trailer here:

Run All Night Review (2015)

Run All Night is a pleasant surprise.

Having made above average movies like Orphan, Unknown and Non-Stop, Jaume Collet-Serra comes with yet another flick that gets down straight to business – kicking ass, taking names and shooting bullets. Run All Night, despite its forgettable title, manages to stick to its name. You witness events that occur in a single night. Packed in with exceptional performances by the cast, this movie literally breathes on its constantly moving storyline.

Run all night comes with a surprisingly good story taken on the vanguard by great actors like Liam Neeson and Ed Harris. The direction of the movie could have gone better, since there were a lot of useless filler frames that Jaume used to connect scenes. Some of them were really unrelated. Also the frames in the movie skipped so fast that it sometimes became hard to follow up. Incessant movement of the cameras made it hard to focus and taking in the gravity of the situation became really daunting.

Joel Kinnaman as Mike too was a big disappointment. All he did in the movie was act tough, and walk around expressionless. Poor casting choice there, I would say. Also, what is with the poster of the movie? So bland and meaningless!

Melodramatic bits of the story aren’t that great and look more animated than real like the conversation between Mike and Jimmy in the car. Screenplay is hence just okay.  As we reach the end, things become a bit clichéd and predictable. It took me back to ‘Road to Perdition’ for a while.

SPOILERS

There is one great face-off scene between the two protagonists in a restaurant where Jimmy urges Shawn to spare Mike. Shawn is pissed beyond limit to let Mike off easily and resents him with a wrathful threat. It looked pretty badass. Also, Jimmy’s backfiring act when he barges in Shawn’s place looked pretty dope too.

Overall the movie was above average. If it weren’t for shaky cameras and really fast paced storytelling this movie could have slipped into the bag of the greats.