top of page

The Commuter

Release Date: January 12, 2018

Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery

Director: Jaume Collet-Serra

Writers: Philip de Blasi (Story and Screenplay), Ryan Engle (Screenplay), Byron Willinger (Story and Screenplay)

Cast: Liam Neeson, Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Sam Neil

Idea for a movie: an ordinary guy, has an ordinary life, you know, his teen kid is embarrassed by him because he is basically a nerd, he works a humdrum job so you know he’s not the best at social interactions, he doesn’t go to the gym so he isn’t a real buff guy, but his wife still adoringly loves him and she’s a babe. You know, a real, shrimpy, shmuck-of-a-guy, who would never pass as an action star but has to save the day in the end; do we have anyone in mind? What’s Liam Neeson up to?

And thus birthed the premise for yet another action film involving a speeding transport vessel and Liam Neeson as a know-nothing, good-deed-doer who happens to have a very special set of skills. How many ex-CIA live amongst us? It’s understandable people get fooled. When I see Liam Neeson, I always think this 7-foot hunk-of-a-man was a born accountant.

Let’s dive right in with the visual exposition, shall we? Boom! Attractive wife; check. He loves her? Well he better if he’s slurping on her hand like that while she’s sleeping. Boom! Humdrum life; check. Is he weak? You tell me as he pretends to wobble to the kitchen for coffee. That 9-to-5 desk job is crippling him. Boom! Indifferent, disgruntled, teen son: check. Does the son hate Papa Neeson? It’s pretty obvious he's rebelling considering his wise-ass “Mornin'” and his fashion-blind approach to teen angst. Were there feathers in that outfit? The good news is Papa Neeson doesn’t care for Junior either with that oddly monotone “hey kiddow”. Boom! Speeding transport vessel; check. Is it old, rusty, and a potential death trap? Do explosives have fuses?

Why did they show each other their wedding rings? We get they’re married; do they forget they’re married? Or maybe this is her way of brand-checking him just in case there ends up being two Liam Neeson’s and she has to figure out which one is the real one.

Hellooooo heels. Aw…except for the rest of that outfit. Disappointing. “This is my first time on a commuter train.” No matter how many times I listen to that simple statement, it still sounds dumb. Lady, lemme get this straight. You are somethin’-somethin’ years old, one would assume you live in a major city, because you are speaking passable-to-proper English; you’ve never been on a commuter train?! Have you ever been on a bus? How sheltered are you? I don’t know where to start with you.

“You must know everyone on this train.” Boy, do I? There’s Old Man Flannigan, he spends his evenings picking cigarette butts out of beer bottles so he can drink the old, flat beer inside. One time it ended up being urine instead of beer. Oh, over there, that guy sells his mom’s kidney medication to pay for her dialysis. And that section over there is the ‘Untouchables’. We’ve created our own class system as we sit on this train going to and from work.

“I’m sorry, have we met?” This is her first time on a train, Liam, pay attention. You know everyone and live on that train, don’t ask dumb! “I study human behavior.” She studies humans and she’s never been on a train? “My job is to answer one basic question…” I would love it if Liam just looked up from his paper, Look, I didn’t ask for your life story. Notice, you are answering your own questions? I’m just trying to get home!

“Let’s do an experiment.” I’ll get the test tubes! “Someone on this train does not belong.” Hmmm. I wonder who it could be. Is there anyone who has never stepped foot on a commuter train before, is wearing fabulous heels that don’t match her 70’s school teacher ensemble, has no briefcase, or jacket, or any indicator that she is actually transporting from one location to another, and is performing a social experiment in the same seat Old Man Flannigan lost control of his bowels? Nope, everything seems normal to me.

“In the bathroom, there is $75,000.” If that were a real commuter train, that money would have been gone before she even sat down to do her spiel.

“You have until next stop to decide. What kind of person are you?” But…but…now look here, I have no special set of skills. I just have my briefcase here, and my wedding ring. You-you-you got some kind of mistake, Lady. Boy, I miss Jimmy Stewart.

So now Liam has to play some sort of real-life Guess Who? with no leads to go on except who he thinks doesn’t belong on a public commuter train? Does he have roll call?

“You’re trying to set me up.” You mean the cash in an envelope wasn’t out of good faith? P.S. Is that Vera Farmiga or Kristen Wiig? I just can’t tell anymore.

Finally! RELEASE THE NEESON! That’s the Liam we know. Nerdy accountant becomes bad-ass, rolling under moving trains, making shit explode, narrowly escaping two trains going past each other, using his kung-fu skills on ex-Lithuanian mafia, no doubt. “What do you want from me?” “It’s just one little thing.” That’s a weird cliffhanger line. How about? Your 7:10 just got delayed. Or…Ticket please. No, no I got it…Make way…for the handicapped.

Idea for a sequel: A year later, Neeson has sworn off trains for good. He now believes in destroying the ozone with his carbon-emissions. All the climate scientists seek revenge so they team up with the same ex-Lithuanian mafia guys who also want revenge for getting their asses kicked. They kidnap his son, who at this point, had been traumatized by his father’s ordeal and became a God-fearing Quaker, and the only way for Papa Neeson to get him back is to conduct his own commuter train. Half of the film will be an Eye of the Tiger montage of him learning how to get on a train again.

bottom of page