The Terminal

Life is waiting
Life is waiting
D: Steven Spielberg
Dreamworks (Walter F. Parkes, Laurie MacDonald & Steven Spielberg)
US 2004
129 mins


W: Andrew Niccol, Sacha Gervasi & Jeff Nathanson
DP: Janusz Kaminski
Ed: Michael Kahn
Mus: John Williams
PD: Alex McDowell

Tom Hanks (Viktor Navorski), Catherine Zeta-Jones (Amelia Warren), Stanley Tucci (Frank Dixon), Chi McBride (Joe Mulroy), Diego Luna (Enrique Cruz), Zoë Saldana (Dolores Torres), Kumar Pallana (Gupta Rajan)

A typically Hollywoodised version of true events. A man from a (fictional) Eastern European country is caught in a technical loophole when his nation is torn apart by civil war during his flight to New York City. Forbidden to leave the airport terminal by a bureaucratic controller, he makes friends with other airport staff and becomes an inspiration to them for not giving up his dream of eventually visiting the City.
The main star of the picture is the scale of the set, so convincing that it's an actual airport terminal that you'd be forgiven for not realising it is actually a (product-placement laden) film set. Unfortunately, this does lead to some product placement which is forcibly stuffed down one's throat, almost literally.
The performances of the cast are otherwise disappointing, including Tom Hanks who attributes a duck-like waddle to his character's walk for no particular reason, while Stanley Tucci plays a villain straight out of a pantomime and Catherine Zeta-Jones' promiscuous air hostess is just grotesque.
Aside from a handful of good moments of an innocent man adjusting to life trapped in a virtual prison, the rest of the storyline is rather embarrassing, especially a subplot where two supporting characters get married. We've come to expect so much more from Steven Spielberg, but this effort is uncharacteristically grounded.

Tom Hanks in The Terminal
Tom Hanks in The Terminal