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Film / Non-Stop (2014)
aka: Non Stop

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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 (2005).

The following tropes are included on this flight:

  • The Alcoholic: Marks, by his own admission.
  • Asshole Victim: Out of all the deaths in the film, three out of five of them were people that are hard to mourn. The co-marshal is actually a drug smuggler, who is willing to kill Marks to keep it a secret. The last two are said terrorists themselves. Only the two in the middle, the pilot and an unfortunate random passenger, have any real weight.
  • The Bad Guys Win: Sort of. Tom's real motivation was to "demonstrate" how unsafe Americans really were and wasn't expecting to come out of his plan alive... along with everyone else onboard. It worked, except that only he and a small handful didn't live to see the results. While he didn't succeed in taking out the entire plane and Bill is hailed as a hero for stopping him, he nevertheless proved how easy is to compromise an aircraft, and as a result his actions will no doubt prompt a review and probable overhaul of the system.
  • Bait-and-Switch: When the Islamic Doctor tells the NYPD cop he needs to re-set their nose, which was broken in a fight with Bill. He holds their head, there is a cracking sound, and he re-sets their nose.
  • Batman Gambit: The terrorist sets up the first murder by having Bill kill the other air marshal when he finds out he's dirty at the exact 20 minute mark. If Bill had lost their fight and been murdered then their entire plan to frame him would have disappeared.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Tom and Zack
  • Big Bad Friend: Hammond, his co-marshal, turns out to be dirty, and tries to kill Bill to cover it up. He's only an Unwitting Pawn of the villains, though, and doesn't know about their plan.
  • *Bleep*-dammit!: Several on-screen text-messages from the unsub have their F-bombs obscured by "video corruption." Compare with Precision F-Strike.
  • Bottle Episode: With the exception of the the opening and end, the movie takes place entirely within the plane.
  • Camera Fiend: Two of them, neither with a name:
    • The smooth guy in shades, reluctant to share the contents of his phone but not for the reason Bill suspected ("Check out the hot chick on my flight!").
    • The young German, who has unwittingly uploaded a crucial clue to YouTube.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The European kid who's unwittingly responsible for leaking a misleading video footage of what was going on onboard to the media. That same kid's camera later allows Marks to pinpoint one of the terrorists.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Tom Bowen and Zack White, both of whom met Marks before getting on the plane.
  • Cigarette of Anxiety: Bill needs a couple and the second leads him to how the captain died.
  • Clear My Name: Marks has to find the killer, otherwise he'll go down for the plot.
  • Closed Circle: Takes place on a plane over the Atlantic at 40,000 ft. No one's leaving.
  • Coming in Hot: After a bomb goes off, the plane has to land with a gaping hole in its fuselage and one of the engines on fire.
  • Death in the Clouds: By the time the plane lands Hammond, the captain and one of the passengers are dead.
  • Dirty Cop: Jack Hammond, Marks' co-marshal on the flight, is smuggling cocaine.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The mounting tension and paranoia onboard the plane call to mind a September 11-style hijacking. The two actual terrorists planned this on purpose.
    A passenger: The captain is dead. This guy's closed off a cabin and he's taken a hostage. Sound familiar?
  • Endangering News Broadcast: For the hijackers as Bill realises the young German who has been filming has caught a vital clue on camera.
  • Exact Words: "I never said it was going to be a passenger." Cue the main pilot collapsing and sending the plane into temporary turbulence.
  • Foreshadowing: The texts are sent to Marks via a secure cell connection, indicating the sender had the skills to hack into the connection.
  • Genghis Gambit: The Big Bad is appalled by how vulnerable he thinks America is to terrorist attacks, including American flights, so he does all this to scare the country into putting higher standards of security in place.
  • Good is Not Nice: Marks is the good guy, but he has no qualms about roughing up suspects, which adds weight to the belief that he is the hijacker.
  • Hired to Hunt Yourself: Zack, the guy they bring in to help find the villain, is actually in league with him.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: During the final confrontation, Bill fires at Tom straight in the head, while the plane is diving down and everyone aboard is experiencing weightlessness.
  • Ironic Echo: "Am I in your way, asshole?" First Zack says it to Marks as an insult, and then Marks uses it against Zack as a Pre Ass Kicking One Liner.
  • Irony: When Bill is trying to warn Agent Marenick that there is a bomb on the plane, Marenick, thinking he's the hijacker, tries to talk him down, telling him: "I know it feels like nobody else is listening, but I am. We'll work this out together." Marks' frustrated response is to snap back that Marenick isn't listening to him.
  • It Works Better with Bullets: After finally trusting the passengers, Marks gives the NYPD officer aboard a gun. However, when the guy actually tries to use it against one of the terrorists, the gun just clicks empty. At the end, the cop tells Marks to give him a gun with bullets in it next time.
  • 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.
  • Kill It with Fire: White is killed when he is caught in the bomb's explosion.
  • 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.
  • Ma'am Shock: Bill tries to reassue Jen with bluster, but she's not buying it so he resorts to calling her "Ma'am".
  • 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.
    • Downplayed in Bill's case, but he eyes the Muslim man with suspicion at the airport before the murders even begin. When the murders start however, he acts on information received and what prejudices he may have had are put aside.
  • 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.
  • One Dialogue, Two Conversations: A very dark version of a trope usually played for laughs. When Marks is fighting his crooked partner, Hammond confesses to needing the money and offers to split it. Marks thinks Hammond is talking about the threats, but Hammond's talking about the smuggled cocaine that he is carrying.
  • 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.
  • Red Herring: Several. It's difficult for either Marks or the audience to pick out who the villain is.
  • 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.
  • Rule of Three: "Am I in your way?" This line is exchanged three different times between Bill and Zack.
  • Scenery Censor: Messages on Hammond's cracked screen:
    You're f***ing with the wrong guy.
    I'm f***ing with the right guy.
  • Spiritual Successor: Has one in the form of The Commuter. Both star Liam Neeson and are directed by Jaume Collet-Serra and are "Die Hard" on an X movies.
  • Thanatos Gambit: Tom never intended to make it off the plane alive.
  • Time Stands Still: When Bill gets his gun back thanks to the climactic dive.
  • Turn in Your Badge: Subverted. Under orders from the TSA, the captain takes Bill's badge and gun, but after his death, Bill takes them back.
  • Two Dun It: 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."
    • The account number you gave's in your name.
  • 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 Marks and actually subdue him.

Alternative Title(s): Non Stop