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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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Augustine of Hippo: A Christian at 33, a priest at 36, a bishop at 41: Many people are familiar with the biographical sketch of Augustine of Hippo, sinner turned saint. But really to get to know the man is a rewarding experience. 
<p>There quickly surfaces the intensity with which he lived his life, whether his path led away from or toward God. The tears of his mother, the instructions of Ambrose and, most of all, God himself speaking to him in the Scriptures redirected Augustine’s love of life to a life of love. </p><p>Having been so deeply immersed in creature-pride of life in his early days and having drunk deeply of its bitter dregs, it is not surprising that Augustine should have turned, with a holy fierceness, against the many demon-thrusts rampant in his day. His times were truly decadent—politically, socially, morally. He was both feared and loved, like the Master. The perennial criticism leveled against him: a fundamental rigorism. </p><p>In his day, he providentially fulfilled the office of prophet. Like Jeremiah and other greats, he was hard-pressed but could not keep quiet. “I say to myself, I will not mention him,/I will speak in his name no more./But then it becomes like fire burning in my heart,/imprisoned in my bones;/I grow weary holding it in,/I cannot endure it” (Jeremiah 20:9).</p> American Catholic Blog Pope Francis said, “The Church gives us the life of faith in Baptism: that is the moment in which she gives birth to us as children of God, the moment she gives us the life of God, she engenders us as a mother would.”

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