Follow TV Tropes


Film / The Commuter

Go To

The Commuter is a 2018 action thriller film directed by Jaume Collet-Serra. The film stars Liam Neeson, Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Jonathan Banks, and Sam Neill.

A woman offers Michael MacCauley, an Irish-American NYPD member turned insurance agent who returns home by train $100,000 if he helps her find a hidden passenger before the last stop. The man takes the money, after which he realizes that he is the victim of a perverse blackmail scheme.


This film features examples of:

  • Affably Evil: Murphy is genuinely polite despite being part of the conspiracy.
  • Bait the Dog: Both Murphy and Oliver seem helpful, but turn out to be working for the conspiracy.
  • Big Bad Friend: When Michael gets surrounded inside of a derailed train cart with a group of hostages, his best friend and former police colleague Det. Lt. Alex Murphy comes in to negotiate. After a slip of the tongue, Alex reveals he is working with the criminals and is responsible for directly involving Michael, but did it to help with his money problems as he thought Michael wouldn't ask any questions.
  • Creative Closing Credits: The credits is depicted as a train station map.
  • Dead Star Walking: Jonathan Banks.
  • Faux Affably Evil: In contrast with Murphy, who seems to genuinely be nice despite working for the bad guys, Joanna is polite with Michael, but it becomes obvious that she's a sadistic monster who is perfectly fine with murdering innocent people.
  • Advertisement:
  • Good-Times Montage: The everyday routines of Michael and his family over a period of months takes up the first five minutes of the film, showing their idyllic (if ordinary) life that the plot of the film threatens to overturn.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: We don't get to see the gory details of herOliver being run over by a train.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Sam dies while helping Michael unhook the train.
  • Jerkass: Vince is a smug, elitist jerk who insults Michael for no reason.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Captain Hawthorne initially acts like such a jerk that he's even suggested to be a Dirty Cop as a Red Herring, but as it turns out, he's on the good side despite his attitude.
  • Lovable Coward: Jimmy.
  • Mohs Scale of Violence Hardness: Level 5. Blood is a frequent sight during acts of violence, but none of the liquid explicitly spurts or splatters. It's pretty soft as far as level 5s go, though.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Sam.
  • Red Herring:
    • Jackson, one of the passengers, is played by Roland Møller, who often plays villains, so he looks like he is a member of the conspiracy. Nope, he turns out to be a perfectly nice fellow willing to give his life to protect Prynne once it turns out she is a scared teenage girl.
    • Captain David Hawthorne is described as a possible Dirty Cop and a Jerkass, so once it turns out that many of the conspirators are dirty cops. He seems like a likely villain, but he turns out to be clean and a Hero Antagonist at worst.
    • Vince looks to be Prynne, but it turns out he is not and had in fact switched seats with the actual Prynne.
  • Red Shirt: The FBI agent guarding Prynne.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: Michael's friend Walt is murdered by a member of the conspiracy in front of Michael as a warning.
  • Scary Black Man: Oliver at first seems like an aversion, being polite and sympathetic to Michael’s plight, but it turns out he is working for the conspiracy and killed the FBI agent guarding Prynne and is perfectly willing to kill Michael.
  • Spiritual Successor: The film can serve as one to Non-Stop. Both of them star Liam Neeson and are directed by Jaume Collet-Serra and are also "Die Hard" on an X movies. The only difference is that Non-Stop takes place on a plane while The Commuter takes place on a train.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: