Movie Review by Neils Hesse
Starring: Tom Hanks, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Stanley Tucci, Chi McBride, Diego Luna
Director: Steven Spielberg
Viktor Narvorski (Tom Hanks) is from Krakorzia in Eastern Europe. He has travelled to New York on holiday but alas just as he arrives in the Big Apple a coup is executed in his country leaving him stateless which means as the airport supervisor Frank Dixon (Stanley Tucci) puts it, “he has fallen through a crack in the system” that does not permit him to either leave the airport terminal or to be deported. Viktor speaks very little English when we first see him, so he does not understand why he is being kept in the terminal and it is only after he sees the shocking footage on the news across TV screens in the airport that he realises the horrible truth. Viktor is now forced to carve an existence out of living in the terminal. Dixon is put into a precarious position as he is trying to get a promotion and Viktor’s presence at his airport could greatly diminish his chance.
As Viktor gets into his day-to-day survival routine he makes many interesting friends at the airport who in many ways look after him as he wins them over with his genuine humble demeanour and he even ends up getting work as a construction worker. Dixon meanwhile is watching all this and after a stand off between Viktor and Dixon that Viktor wins, his popularity soars whilst Dixon’s resolve to see to it that Viktor never touches American soil equally reaches boiling point. Viktor meets a beautiful air hostess Amelia (Catherine Zeta-Jones) who he falls for but struggles to tell just why it is that she always happens to meet him in the terminal.
Viktor finally gets a chance to leave the terminal after living out an existence with a makeshift family of cleaners, luggage handlers, shop attendants and so on but once again he has a stand off with Dixon that holds a lot at stake for him and some members of his new found family.
Tom Hanks gives a perfect performance. He portrays the humble, wise nature of the character he plays very well here, from the lows when he realises that his country is in trouble, to the highs where he falls in love and is close to finally leaving the terminal. This range of emotions is hard to portray but Mr Hanks delivers in all areas. Stand out supporting acts from the fabulous Kumar Pallana who plays Gupta Rajan provide both humour and genuine drama. Stanley Tucci also gives an impeccable performance as the determined boss who is generally not bad but just needs more compassion.
Spielberg has been accused by many critics of being too soft with some of his recent films and this film is equally sweet but why not? His idea in this film is to introduce you to a man from a small, unknown country and to get you to feel for him as the people in the terminal all eventually do, and to go with him on this journey of survival. This Steven Spielberg achieves and I for one was fully satisfied. With beautiful shots and an excellent soundtrack, this is a feel good movie all round and man does it make you feel good!
Great filmmaking! Spielberg and Hanks are in a class of their own!