Liam Neeson and director Jaume Collet-Serra team up once again after an enviable track record with “Non-Stop” amassing $222.8 million worldwide in 2014 and “Unknown’s” $130.8 million in 2011. This year, they are set to take audiences on another thrilling ride in the latest action-suspense movie “The Commuter” set on a train in New York, taking the viewer out of the main location of the train to the outside world—into the main character’s family home and into the office and bars, which are all part of Michael’s (Neeson) daily routine.
However, an ordinary day turns extraordinary when Michael gets on the train after his last day in the office, ready to face his family and admit that he has been fired and that they are facing bankruptcy. Into the seat opposite him slides a woman, who is not one of the regular commuters Michael knows to nod hello to. She introduces herself to him as Joanna (Vera Farmiga), and before long makes him a strange offer: something of hers has been stolen on the train and she needs help finding it. If he agrees to help, he’ll be richly compensated.
One of the crucial elements to cranking up the excitement of the film are the fight scenes. Stunt and fight coordinator Mark Vanselow has worked 16 times with Neeson so has perfected a succinct shorthand while training the actor which, according to producer Andrew Rona, has meant “there’s a real level of trust.”
“We were able to push the boundaries of the stunt work and the jeopardy that we put him in because Liam completely has trust and faith in the filmmaking team,” Rona added.
Meanwhile, it was the everyman quality of the lead character that appealed to Neeson. “Michael has been taking the same train for 10 years, five days a week and then one day gets fired because he’s hit the age of 60,” said the actor.
“He doesn’t know how to tell his wife, and he’s double-mortgaged on his house. After having a drink in the local bar with an ex-cop friend of his, he takes the commuter train back to face the music and tell his wife and his son, who’s about to go to college, that they have no money. On the train a mysterious person sits beside him and asks him ‘Would you do one tiny little thing for $100,000?’ He’s not sure, but tempts him by asking him to find a bag with $25,000 in a compartment on the train. He finds the money and sets in motion the action.”
“The Commuter” opens today in cinemas nationwide from Pioneer Films.