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I'm not hijacking this plane, I'm trying to save it!
-Air Marshal Bill Marks
Non-Stop is a 2014 thriller
starring Liam Neeson
, Julianne Moore
, Michelle Dockery
, Lupita Nyong'o
and "Scoot" McNairy
On a routine commercial transatlantic flight, U.S. air marshal Bill Marks begins receiving threatening texts from an unknown passenger, promising to kill one person every twenty minutes until $150 million is transferred to a specified account, an account that turns out to be in Marks' name. Now with suspicion mounting against him, he must find the killer, clear his name, and do it while protecting all the rest of the passengers.
If you're looking for another thriller on a plane, you might be looking for Flightplan
The following tropes are included on this flight:
- Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Marks roughs up the people he believes are terrorists, while angrily asking them questions. However, this only fuels the passengers' paranoia that Marks is hi-jacking the plane.
- Killing In Self Defense: When Marks confronts fellow air marshal Hammond he thinks is behind the plot to hijack the flight and the two get into a fight in the plane's lavatory. Hammond gets hold of a gun and Marks snaps his neck before he has a chance to use it.
- Knight Templar: Marks starts skirting this trope as he becomes increasingly desperate to find the man behind all of this, who turns out to be an example himself, willing to blow up a plane and kill over 150 people to make a point about how vulnerable American airlines are to terrorist attacks.
- Living on Borrowed Time: Jen has a heart condition and could drop dead at any moment. That's why she always sits on the window seat—she wants to see as much beautiful scenery as she can before she dies.
- Men Are the Expendable Gender: All five deaths on the plane are male and Marks orders "the women and children" furthest forward into the plane, leaving the men as a buffer zone between them and the bomb.
- Morality Pet: A case where one exists for the hero. Were it not for Becca, we would hardly see Marks acting like an actual human being.
- Never Trust a Trailer: The trailer makes it look like Hammond is the first victim of the killer, when it is Bill who ends up killing him, and out of self-defense. It also gives the impression that the terrorist is a woman in a red dress, though the hijacker (two of them) are actually two males.
- Noble Bigot with a Badge: One of the passengers is a cop who is off to Britain because his "fairy brother" is getting married to some British guy. But he doesn't seem like a bad guy and ultimately becomes one of Marks' biggest allies. He also shows little trust of the Muslim man in the early goings, making a snide remark when he's the one who gets brought into the cockpit after the captain dies.
- Not What I Signed On For: Zack tries to disarm the bomb after he realizes that Tom never intended for them to survive it. He doesn't do a full Heel-Face Turn, though, and ends up dying when it goes off.
- The Oner: A particularly neat tracking shot following Marks as he "randomly" searches passengers, aided by editing as the camera moves through a window and reenters the plane at another one further down.
- Only in It for the Money: The crooked Air Marshal as well as the second terrorist are both driven by greed.
- Paranoia Gambit: The bad guy frames Marks as the hijacker and counts on him unwittingly acting like he is hijacking the plane because he wants to expose the incompetence of the air marshals and American security in general. It works better than expected when the passengers turn on Marks.
- Pop-Up Texting: The terrorists initially contact Marks via text, which is shown appearing next to his phone. All phone communications are displayed this way, even one when he's gotten a hold of a suspect's phone, which has a cracked screen, also visible in the pop-up.
- Precision F-Strike: The co-pilot mutters "fuck it" before putting the plane into a steep dive.
- Pretty Little Headshots: Tom, one of the two terrorists, eats a bullet to the face.
- Redemption Equals Death: Subverted. Zack is about to disarm the bomb, not really for the good of the passengers but because he's shocked that Tom expects them to both die. Tom shoots him, but he gets up a moment later to try to kill Bill again.
- Red Herring: Several. It's difficult for either Marks or the audience to pick out who the villain is.
- Thanatos Gambit: Tom never intended to make it off the plane alive.
- Those Two Bad Guys: Turns out there are two guys behind everything, though Zack appears to be The Dragon.
- The Voice: Agent Marenick is this during the flight. We don't see him until the end of the movie.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Tom is revealed to be one, believing that only the death of an entire airplane full of passengers at the hands of a (framed) Air Marshall would scare Americans into preventing another terrorist attack.
- Western Terrorists:
- Tom and Zack turn out to be these.
- At one point a racist talking head mentions that Marks is originally from Belfast and vocally wonders if he is in the IRA.
- Wham Line: "I'm sorry you had to do that, Bill."
- What the Hell, Hero?: Nancy and especially Jen when Marks suspects they could be the culprit; both are red herrings and wind up being helpful allies from the start.
- You Can't Thwart Stage One: Played straight. No matter what Marks tries, the culprits manage to kill a victim every 20 minutes, have the money transferred and requires a final showdown to stop them.
- You Have to Believe Me: Marks has to convince the crew as well as his bosses that he is not behind this. However, he doesn't explain himself to the passengers, for fear of provoking whoever is behind this or causing a panic. Which comes to bite him when the passengers also believe he is hijacking them and decide to ambush him. Once he explains what's actually going on though, they turn out to be pretty helpful.
- Zerg Rush: Near the end when the passengers have made a battle strategy made up by the police passenger, the 3-4 main passengers that have had issues with Mark attack him. While he initially fights them off, their combined numbers and determination gives them what they need to beat Mark and actually subdue him.