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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Non-Stop

By
John Mulderig
Source: Catholic News Service


Liam Neeson stars in a scene from the movie "Non-Stop."
Tired of airport pat-downs? They're nothing compared to the severe smackdowns administered by troubled air marshal Bill Marks (Liam Neeson) as he slams his way through the popcorn thriller "Non-Stop" (Universal).

Though Marks' rough ways—together with a bit of risque humor—set this turbulent trip off limits for kids, most grownups will likely handle the bumps along the way without much difficulty.

Haunted by a family tragedy, Marks has a drinking problem -- as well as an explosive temper -- and is barely holding on to his job when he's assigned to protect a typical overnight flight from New York to London. All sense of routine goes by the wayside, however, when an anonymous passenger sends Marks a text threatening to kill one of his fellow travelers every 20 minutes until a hefty payout is wired into his bank account.

Marks swings into action, but he's bewildered to find that his unknown adversary is making it appear as though Marks himself is the one doing the killing. That account, for instance, turns out to be in the marshal's name.

Marks enlists the help of sympathetic newfound acquaintance Jen Summers (Julianne Moore). Seated next to each other, the two have been chatting in a mildly flirtatious way. He also draws on the aid of veteran stewardess and longtime friend Nancy (Michelle Dockery).

But mutual mistrust—Just who is Jen? How well does Nancy really know Marks?—hampers the trio's efforts to identify and stop the perpetrator.

The rapid pace and frequent plot twists of director Jaume Collet-Serra's thriller divert attention from its improbabilities. As with Agatha Christie's "Murder on the Orient Express," genuine suspense pervades the proceedings because every single person onboard is a potential suspect. Marks, however, is no Hercule Poirot; he relies far more on his big white knuckles than his little gray cells.

Without incurring the guilt of spoilers, the solution to it all can be said to involve a surprisingly laudable goal pursued in a deeply immoral manner. So to the degree that this jump across the puddle carries any ethical cargo, it's the familiar maxim that good ends do not justify sinful means.

The film contains considerable harsh but mostly bloodless violence, brief nongraphic sexual activity between incidental characters, some adult references, numerous uses of profanity, at least one instance of the F-word as well as several crude and crass terms. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III—adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13—parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

*****
John Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.



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Bernard of Clairvaux: Man of the century! Woman of the century! You see such terms applied to so many today—“golfer of the century,” “composer of the century,” “right tackle of the century”—that the line no longer has any punch. But Western Europe's “man of the twelfth century,” without doubt or controversy, has to be Bernard of Clairvaux. Adviser of popes, preacher of the Second Crusade, defender of the faith, healer of a schism, reformer of a monastic Order, Scripture scholar, theologian and eloquent preacher: any one of these titles would distinguish an ordinary man. Yet Bernard was all of these—and he still retained a burning desire to return to the hidden monastic life of his younger days. 
<p>In the year 1111, at the age of 20, Bernard left his home to join the monastic community of Citeaux. His five brothers, two uncles and some 30 young friends followed him into the monastery. Within four years a dying community had recovered enough vitality to establish a new house in the nearby valley of Wormwoods, with Bernard as abbot. The zealous young man was quite demanding, though more on himself than others. A slight breakdown of health taught him to be more patient and understanding. The valley was soon renamed Clairvaux, the valley of light. </p><p>His ability as arbitrator and counselor became widely known. More and more he was lured away from the monastery to settle long-standing disputes. On several of these occasions he apparently stepped on some sensitive toes in Rome. Bernard was completely dedicated to the primacy of the Roman See. But to a letter of warning from Rome, he replied that the good fathers in Rome had enough to do to keep the Church in one piece. If any matters arose that warranted their interest, he would be the first to let them know. </p><p>Shortly thereafter it was Bernard who intervened in a full-blown schism and settled it in favor of the Roman pontiff against the antipope. </p><p>The Holy See prevailed on Bernard to preach the Second Crusade throughout Europe. His eloquence was so overwhelming that a great army was assembled and the success of the crusade seemed assured. The ideals of the men and their leaders, however, were not those of Abbot Bernard, and the project ended as a complete military and moral disaster. </p><p>Bernard felt responsible in some way for the degenerative effects of the crusade. This heavy burden possibly hastened his death, which came August 20, 1153.</p> American Catholic Blog One of the things that we need to remember is that we’re preaching Jesus, not the institutional Church. It’s easy to get caught up in the rules and regulations of the institution and forget that we are saved not by the Church but by the person of Jesus or the Church as the body of Christ.

 
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