Insurance salesman Michael is on his daily commute home, which quickly becomes anything but routine. After being contacted by a mysterious stranger, Michael is forced to uncover the identity of a hidden passenger on the train before the last stop. As he works against the clock to solve the puzzle, he realizes a deadly plan is unfolding, and he is unwittingly caught up in a criminal conspiracy that carries life and death stakes for everyone on the train.
The Commuter is our annual January Liam Neeson disposable action movie, and it’s actually pretty good. Neeson has perfected this humble everyday father, but actually an undercover badass role because he’s played it so many times. He’s the same thing here, as he is a 60 year old dad (and ex cop) who has a son that is about to go to college. The problem is he that he is running low on money, and on top of it all he is fired from his job. So when a mysterious woman offers him $100,000 just to find a person on a train, he accepts the offer.
You really can’t judge these films with a terrible amount of scrutiny, because they aren’t made to be anything other than just fun and disposable action flicks. That considered, The Commuter is maybe even a little bit more than that. I mean this movie is really entertaining. The Commuter really isn’t even an action movie, by many standards it would be considered more of a pseudo who dunnit type of mystery.
I certainly wouldn’t compare The Commuter to a Hitchcock level film, but it certainly draws quite a bit of influence from the master of suspense. It even has a dolly-zoom halfway through the movie. It is easy to see that the filmmaker put some effort into making this movie. This is meant to be a just a disposable action film, and it could have been easy just to make this movie with no effort, it would probably still make the same amount of money no questions asked. The Commuter succeeds because it clearly has a filmmaker that cares about his craft, and not just collecting a paycheck.
There are some problems with the The Commuter, most notably the entire premise is kind of ludicrous when you think about it. There is also a lot of moments that don’t quite really mean anything to the story, and exist mostly to be a cool looking action set piece. The ending also get a bit convoluted, but does it really matter? I think when you go into a movie like The Commuter you’re really not expecting much and it manages to be quite a fun movie in the end.