Day 222: The Commuter 2018

The Commuter 2018

If you can believe it, I’ve arrived home from seeing a movie in a cinema at a couple of minutes to midnight, again. It was a good attempt to replicate the thrills of Speed, Die Hard and Under Siege (and Under Siege 2). The hostage this time is a man who is free to roam – not tied up physically – not an unknown quantity – who is given emotional boundaries instead of physical ones. The twist, is new: ‘I’m not going to kill this person even if you kill those I care mostly deeply about. ‘ And the film is smart enough to never have characters have that particular conversation. It’s a statement from the victim/hero – not a plea.

There is no way around the fact that this film is an imitation of the impetus-driven films and television that 24, spawned by Speed, has produced.

It’s smart enough to counter the problem of the last two decades in film thrillers, which is that criminals, baddies and terrorists will do far-worse to you than you would allow to happen to you or loved-ones, or that you would do to others. The only believable response of how a goodie can defeat a baddie is if the goodie is willing to sacrifice lives for the sake of those he cares about.

This now brings us into the territory of the CIA and the NSA and the willingness to achieve one’s own ends through the loss of lives of those who you care about.

The U. S. – in all their wars – known and secret – and their sacrifice of American soldiers hardly adds up to a believable sacrifice of a man or woman for his own husband or wife or child.

For all of its faults, and all of the films that have done it better, this is a film which says, You can torture or kill everyone important to me but I still won’t kill for you.

The money – to the working class – is enormous; to those who have nothing – unbelievable; to those who usually have something – incredible; and unimportant to those who have more.

$100,000, wouldn’t pay more than a couple of years of college fees for three kids, and if it is to be serious, should be $10,000,000. Then you could pay off your home and have enough to go to Bermuda and drink cocktails on the beach for the next twenty years before you die of cirrhosis of the liver or skin cancer.

Beside the fact that I like Liam Neeson acting tough (a James Stewart or Cary Grant standing up for himself), there was nothing to attract me to this film. For nothing, but for one fact: the man under pressure – a great Hitchcock theme – how will he react? – it’s an all too familiar scenario. But treated herewith a serious eye to where the point or the line is which stops the victims acting like the terrorists or responding with equal weight, this film draws that line in the sand and says, “No more.”