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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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John Paul II: “Open wide the doors to Christ,” urged John Paul II during the homily at the Mass when he was installed as pope in 1978. <br /><br />Born in Wadowice, Poland, Karol Jozef Wojtyla had lost his mother, father and older brother before his 21st birthday. Karol’s promising academic career at Krakow’s Jagiellonian University was cut short by the outbreak of World War II. While working in a quarry and a chemical factory, he enrolled in an “underground” seminary in Kraków. Ordained in 1946, he was immediately sent to Rome where he earned a doctorate in theology. <br /><br />Back in Poland, a short assignment as assistant pastor in a rural parish preceded his very fruitful chaplaincy for university students. Soon he earned a doctorate in philosophy and began teaching that subject at Poland’s University of Lublin. <br /><br />Communist officials allowed him to be appointed auxiliary bishop of Kraków in 1958, considering him a relatively harmless intellectual. They could not have been more wrong! <br /><br />He attended all four sessions of Vatican II and contributed especially to its <em>Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World</em>. Appointed as archbishop of Kraków in 1964, he was named a cardinal three years later. <br /><br />Elected pope in October 1978, he took the name of his short-lived, immediate predecessor. Pope John Paul II was the first non-Italian pope in 455 years. In time, he made pastoral visits to 124 countries, including several with small Christian populations. <br /><br />He promoted ecumenical and interfaith initiatives, especially the 1986 Day of Prayer for World Peace in Assisi. He visited Rome’s Main Synagogue and the Western Wall in Jerusalem; he also established diplomatic relations between the Holy See and Israel. He improved Catholic-Muslim relations and in 2001 visited a mosque in Damascus, Syria. <br /><br />The Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, a key event in John Paul’s ministry, was marked by special celebrations in Rome and elsewhere for Catholics and other Christians. Relations with the Orthodox Churches improved considerably during his ministry as pope. <br /><br />“Christ is the center of the universe and of human history” was the opening line of his 1979 encyclical, <em>Redeemer of the Human Race</em>. In 1995, he described himself to the United Nations General Assembly as “a witness to hope.” <br /><br />His 1979 visit to Poland encouraged the growth of the Solidarity movement there and the collapse of communism in central and eastern Europe 10 years later. He began World Youth Day and traveled to several countries for those celebrations. He very much wanted to visit China and the Soviet Union but the governments in those countries prevented that. <br /><br />One of the most well-remembered photos of his pontificate was his one-on-one conversation in 1983 with Mehmet Ali Agca, who had attempted to assassinate him two years earlier. <br /><br />In his 27 years of papal ministry, John Paul II wrote 14 encyclicals and five books, canonized 482 saints and beatified 1,338 people. <br /><br />In the last years of his life, he suffered from Parkinson’s disease and was forced to cut back on some of his activities. <br /><br />Pope Benedict XVI beatified John Paul II in 2011, and Pope Francis canonized him in 2014. American Catholic Blog Lord, may I have balance and measure in everything—except in Love. —St. Josemaría Escrivá

 
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