'The Commuter'

John Thomas
LIAM NEESON and Vera Farmiga in "The Commuter" directed by Jaume Collet-Sera.

We never find out who the bad guys really are, but we do know the messenger and the message. The bad guys are very bad, their message is deadly and their influence is far-reaching – how far, we never discover that either. Michael MacCauley (Liam Neeson), is the typical New York commuter, traveling from a suburban home to his office in the city. He exchanges brief greetings with his fellow commuters before removing some reading material from his briefcase to peruse.

This particular day at work does not go well. He leaves early and retreats to a bar near his office to commiserate with a former work-buddy Alex (Patrick Wilson). They talk, meet a former boss of theirs, have a few beers until it’s time for Michael to head home and tell his family his devastating news. He boards the commuter train, again greets some fellow commuters and settles in for the ride home. Enter Joanna (Vera Farmiga), the messenger.

She slips into the seat opposite Michael and casually initiates a conversation. She claims to conduct research on human behavior and poses a few “hypothetical” questions for him to answer. One of the questions has an answer with $25,000 in cash attached to it, plus another $75,000 at the completion of the question/task. The conversation, he observes, is no longer hypothetical, it has now moved in a sinister direction.

“There is someone on this train who doesn’t belong. Find that person and the money is yours. You have until the next stop to accept this offer,” she explains, rising from her seat and heading towards the exit. Discovering the $25,000 to be real and where she said it would be found, he considers her offer – after his day at work he’s desperate. And so the real ride begins.

Using skills from a previous career he slowly and methodically begins to eliminate the passengers who do belong on the train from those who don’t. He receives another message from the bad guys and a new deadline – find the passenger before the last stop or your family will suffer. He is rapidly narrowing his focus on the one passenger who doesn’t belong; but not as rapidly as the train is moving towards the final destination – it is moving very fast now. Both Michael and the train begin moving at out-of-control speeds.

The train reaches its final destination. There is however, one final significant message to be delivered. Again, the messenger has changed, but is just as dangerous as the others – perhaps even more so, with even farther reaching, greater influence.

Directed by Jaume Collet-Sera, this is a “should see” movie that runs 105 minutes.



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