The Commuter (film)
The Commuter is a 2018 action thriller film directed by Jaume Collet-Serra and written by Byron Willinger, Philip de Blasi and Ryan Engle. The film stars Liam Neeson, Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Jonathan Banks, Elizabeth McGovern and Sam Neill, and follows a man who is unwittingly recruited into a murder conspiracy after meeting a mysterious woman while on his daily train commute.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Jaume Collet-Serra|
|Music by||Roque Baños|
|Edited by||Nicolas de Toth|
|Box office||$116 million|
The film premiered in New York City on January 8, 2018, and was theatrically released in the United States on January 12, 2018, by Lionsgate, and on January 19, 2018 in the United Kingdom by StudioCanal; it had a select IMAX release. The film grossed $116 million worldwide and received mixed reviews from critics, who called it similar to Neeson and Collet-Serra's previous film, Non-Stop, but praised Neeson's performance and the genre thrills.
Michael MacCauley, a former police officer, is a family man with a wife and son. He goes through the same routine train commute to work and back every day, taking the Hudson Line from Tarrytown to Grand Central Terminal, only to be fired from his job as a life insurance salesman after ten years.
On the train home, Michael meets a mysterious woman named Joanna. Joanna proposes a hypothetical situation to Michael, asking him to do one little thing, the results of which would have consequences that he would know nothing about, but would affect one of the passengers on the train. Joanna's one little thing that she wants Michael to do is locate "Prynne," an unknown passenger, and plant a GPS tracker on her. Out of curiosity, Michael searches the bathroom and finds an envelope with $25,000, and realizes that the situation is not hypothetical.
He attempts to leave the train but is stopped by a young woman who hands him another envelope with Michael's wife's wedding ring. Michael attempts to call his wife but with no response. Michael attempts to warn a fellow passenger of what is going on by writing on a newspaper, but after he gets off is pushed in front of a bus on the street.
Michael proceeds to track down Prynne by examining the destination tags for the passengers that he does not recognize, knowing that Prynne is getting off at Cold Spring, and plants the GPS tracker. Michael then calls Murphy, his former partner, and tells him what is going on. Murphy informs him that Prynne is a key witness in a supposed suicide case of a man named Enrique, leading Michael to realize that Prynne will be killed.
Sabotaging the air conditioning in the train except for the last car, Michael forces all of the remaining passengers into the last car. Prynne is revealed to be a young girl named Sofia, who is holding incriminating information on powerful people and was to go into witness protection at the final stop of the train. Michael asks Sofia why she did not go to the police, and she reveals that it was the police who killed Enrique who was Sofia's cousin.
Joanna calls Michael and tries to convince him to kill Sofia for the sake of his family, but Michael refuses. Joanna activates the fail-safe plan and derails the train in order to kill everyone aboard. Michael manages to save all of the passengers by unhooking the final car from the rest of the train right before a curve.
Assuming Michael is holding the train hostage, Murphy is sent to talk to him, only to be revealed as the cop who killed Enrique. Michael and Murphy engage in a fight, during which Michael removes Murphy's police tracker which identifies him as a "friendly" to the snipers outside. The snipers, believing Murphy to be Michael, shoot and kill Murphy.
Outside of the train, Sofia is met by the FBI and proceeds to tell what she knows. Michael is hailed as a hero and exonerated by the other passengers while his family is rescued by the FBI. His old captain admits that Murphy and a few others had been under investigation for sometime and offers Michael his job back. Sometime later, Joanna is on a train back from Chicago. Michael approaches her and confronts Joanna about her actions before he shows his police detective badge, implying he is about to arrest her.
- Liam Neeson as Michael MacCauley
- Vera Farmiga as Joanna
- Patrick Wilson as Det. Lt. Alex Murphy
- Jonathan Banks as Walt
- Sam Neill as Captain David Hawthorne
- Elizabeth McGovern as Karen MacCauley
- Killian Scott as FBI Agent Dylan
- Shazad Latif as Vince
- Andy Nyman as Tony
- Clara Lago as Eva
- Roland Møller as Jackson
- Florence Pugh as Gwen
- Dean-Charles Chapman as Danny MacCauley
- Ella-Rae Smith as Sofia
- Nila Aalia as Sherri
- Kobna Holdbrook-Smith as Oliver
- Colin McFarlane as Conductor Sam
- Adam Nagaitis as Conductor Jimmy
- Kingsley Ben-Adir as Special Agent Garcia
- Damson Idris as Special Agent Denys
- Ben Caplan as Frank
- Letitia Wright as Jules Skateboarder
- Pat Kiernan as himself
In January 2010, Olatunde Osunsanmi boarded the action-thriller film as director for the production company Gold Circle Films, with a screenplay written by Byron Willinger and Philip de Blasi. More than a year later, in August 2011, Julian Jarrold was reported to be directing the film instead. In January 2016, Jaume Collet-Serra closed a deal to direct the film, marking his fourth collaboration with Neeson, and also executive produced through Ombra Films, with partner Juan Sola. The film was produced by StudioCanal and The Picture Company.
In September 2015, it was announced that Liam Neeson would star in the film. In June 2016, Vera Farmiga joined, in a role described as "a mysterious woman who boards a commuter train and proposes an enticing opportunity to Neeson's character, one that has dire circumstances if he accepts." The project marks the second working collaboration between Farmiga and Collet-Serra, after 2009's psychological thriller Orphan. On July 13, Sam Neill, Elizabeth McGovern, and Jonathan Banks were added to the principal cast, and in August 2016, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith joined in an undisclosed role. The same month, Patrick Wilson joined the cast as a trusted friend of Neeson's character.
Principal photography began on July 25, 2016, at Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire, England, and continued in New York City. Neeson and McGovern were spotted on the set of the film at Worplesdon railway station in Surrey on September 18, 2016.
In May 2017, it was reported that Roque Baños would compose the film's score. Varèse Sarabande released the soundtrack album digitally in January 2018, with a physical release following on February 9, 2018.
In November 2015, Lionsgate pre-bought the domestic distribution rights to the film, in a deal with StudioCanal. The Commuter was originally scheduled for release in the United States on October 13, 2017, and was pushed back to January 12, 2018. The film was set for release in the United Kingdom on October 20, 2017 by StudioCanal, and was also pushed back to January 19, 2018, in accordance with the U.S. rescheduling. The film had a limited IMAX release.
The Commuter grossed $36.3 million in the United States and Canada, and $79.7 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $116 million.
In the United States and Canada, The Commuter was released alongside the openings of Proud Mary and Paddington 2, and the wide expansion of The Post, and was projected to gross $12–14 million from 2,892 theaters in its opening weekend. It made $4.5 million on its first day and $13.4 million over the weekend, on par with previous Neeson-Collet-Serra collaborations, finishing third at the box office behind holdover Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and The Post. It made $6.6 million in its second weekend, dropping 51.8% and finishing 7th.
Internationally, the film debuted at number two in Germany with $2.6 million. It went on to gross a total of $6.5 million in the country, the biggest market outside the US, as well as $5.4 million in the UK, $4.1 million in France and $2.5 million in Australia.
On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 57% based on 167 reviews, with a weighted average of 5.5/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "The Commuter's cast is better than its workmanlike script – which helps make this reasonably diverting Liam Neeson action thriller worth the price of a matinee ticket or rental, if not a full-price ticket." Metacritic assigned the film a weighted average score of 56 out of 100, based on 44 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale.
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