'The Commuter' Leads New Movies to the Box Office This Weekend

After a few weeks of box-office dominance by Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, there's going to be some freshness in theaters this weekend. Liam Neeson's new action flick The Commuter leads the charge of new releases this week. Read on for The New York Times' opinion of the movie.

Via The New York Times.

I’ll never get too mad about a midwinter Liam Neeson action movie, and not only because I know Mr. Neeson will be angry enough for both of us. “I’m 60 years old,” he growls several times in “The Commuter,” ostensibly to complain about the indignities his character is suffering but really to invite our admiration. The dude can trade punches with guys half his age, roll out from under the wheels of a moving train and then jump right back onto the train. He doesn’t make it look easy. The whole appeal of Mr. Neeson’s late-career rebirth as an action hero is that it looks like hell.

Directed by the noted Neesonist auteur Jaume Collet-Serra (“Unknown,” “Non-Stop,” “Run All Night”), “The Commuter” for a short while promises to be something more than the usual barrage of fistfights, chases and grimaces. The opening title sequence, a montage of nearly-identical mornings in the life of Michael MacCauley, is a thing of beauty. Mike, who lives in Tarrytown, N.Y., awakens each day to ride the Metro-North Railroad train down to Manhattan.

He kisses his wife (Elizabeth McGovern) and banters with their teenage son (Dean-Charles Chapman). What could have been a sketch of Cheeveresque ennui is instead a brief and lovely survey of contentment.

We know Mike’s happiness will be shattered, and the clouds that gather to darken his day are also, at least at first, pretty interesting. The MacCauleys lost a lot in the 2008 financial crisis, and they’ve been struggling to rebuild since then. Mike is abruptly laid off from his job selling insurance, and has a quietly foreboding encounter with colleagues from his previous job, which was with the New York Police Department. (Of course he’s a former cop. He’s Liam Neeson. His colleagues are played by Patrick Wilson and Sam Neill.) And then, on the hot, crowded ride home, Mike meets a mysterious woman named Joanna (Vera Farmiga) who offers him $100,000 to identify another passenger, another stranger on the train.

Get the rest of this review at The New York Times.

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