Review / ‘The Commuter’ (MA) ***

JAUME Collet-Serra’s filming of a screenplay by Byron Willinger and Phillip de Blasi is yet another vehicle for veteran actor Liam Neeson, the sort of character he can do convincingly without apparent effort, a man alone confronting insuperable obstacles and , somewhat battered, somewhat bleeding, overcoming them in the last reel (movies don’t actually come on reels of film any more, but on computer hard drives; however, the analogy still works well enough.)

Insurance salesman, ex-cop, Michael gets fired without notice or, it seems, a redundancy pay. After a beer with a former police colleague, he boards the train home to the wife whom he hasn’t yet told. Joanna (Vera Farmiga) sitting opposite him offers him a deal: $25,000 now, $75,000 when he locates a passenger carrying a bag containing something “they” need badly.

You don’t need a post-grad degree in rocket science to figure out where this is going to end. But en route, there will be graphic violence and a train wreck that looks expensive but probably employed models or CG to enhance its spectacle. Michael gets home cut and bleeding, but not before telling his former police superior (Sam Neill) that he misses the job. Which allows Collet-Serra to provide an end that in the best tradition of storytelling returns to the beginning.

At all cinemas

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