Despite having a premise that made my eyes roll the first time I saw the trailer, I had hoped that the solid cast including Liam Neeson, Vera Farmiga, and Patrick Wilson would make The Commuter at least moderately entertaining and enjoyable. Unfortunately, my faith in the trio of talented actors was all for naught. With a gaggle of brainless, one-dimensional characters, a painfully predictable story, and almost no action, The Commuter is a ride you can, and should, miss.
The story follows Michael (Neeson), an insurance salesman who used to work in law enforcement, when he is given an opportunity to make some easy money while riding the train home. A mysterious stranger named Joanna (Farmiga), offers Michael a hefty sum of cash to find someone who “doesn’t belong” on the train, the same one he has taken home from work every day for the past ten years. Michael soon discovers that Joanna has nefarious plans for this mystery rider, and tries to stop her.
While there is a smidge of potential for an intriguing thriller here, none of it is tapped at any point in The Commuter. The majority of the film is spent watching Michael walk around the train, look at tickets or bags, question completely generic passengers, or talk to the equally uninteresting Joanna and Murphy (Wilson) on the phone. To make matters worse, the (very) few action sequences are just as lifeless as the rest of the movie. Heck, I couldn’t even enjoy watching the mystery unfold because I guessed everything that was going happen over half an hour before it did. Seriously, I knew exactly who Michael was looking for the first time he saw him/her. I ended up sitting through bland conversations and uninspiring action sequences for a finale I saw coming from miles away.
Hurting The Commuter even more are the severe gaps in logic displayed by many characters through the film. I found myself questioning the actions of multiple people far too many times to excuse. I can’t really say any without spoilers, but the best example I can give has to be when someone dumps an entire bag filled with incriminating evidence into a dumpster while literally surrounded by police. I was shaking my head time and time again from the sheer idiocy of the characters in The Commuter.
In my opinion, the two biggest ways a movie can fail is by boring its audience or angering them, and The Commuter manages to do both through its entire runtime. It’s so boring and dumb that it frustrated me. If you have plans to see this trainwreck, do yourself a favor and watch any of Liam Neeson’s other action thrillers (even Non-Stop) at home instead.