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The Terminal [DVD] (2004)
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An Eastern European visitor becomes a resident of a New York airport terminal when a war breaks out and erases his country from the map, voiding his passport. He makes friends with the airport staff and falls in love with a flight attendant.
Like an airport running at peak efficiency, The Terminal glides on the consummate skills of its director and star. Having refined their collaborative chemistry on Saving Private Ryan and Catch Me if You Can, Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks mesh like the precision gears of a Rolex, turning a delicate, not-very-plausible scenario into a lovely modern-age fable (partly based on fact) that's both technically impressive and subtly moving. It's Spielberg in Capra mode, spinning the featherweight tale of Victor Navorski (Hanks, giving a finely tuned performance), an Eastern European who arrives at New York's Kennedy Airport just as his (fictional) homeland has fallen to a coup, forcing him, with no valid citizenship, to take indefinite residence in the airport's expansive International Arrivals Terminal (an astonishing full-scale set that inspires Spielberg's most elegant visual strategies). Spielberg said he made this film in part to alleviate the anguish of wartime America, and his master's touch works wonders on the occasionally mushy material; even Stanley Tucci's officious terminal director and Catherine Zeta-Jones's mixed-up flight attendant come off (respectively) as forgivable and effortlessly charming. With this much talent involved, The Terminal transcends its minor shortcomings to achieve a rare degree of cinematic grace. --Jeff Shannon
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Truly worth 4 stars and my fifth was given as, where there may have been the typical American schmaltz where you predict 'oh now that's going to happen' or 'someone's going to say that', it surprisingly only happened once for me, which made the film even better.
Highly recommend this film.
The story is all about Hanks' character being marooned in a US airport, unable to leave either by the door or on another plane because while he was in transit there, his little unheard-of country suffered a coup and is now in a state of civil war, and all relations with the US, including all visa agreements etc. have been suspended. So he is stuck in limbo while his passport is effectively useless.
So we are treated to a mostly slightly amusing tale of how he manages to find a way to survive in the airport terminal. But the film takes on an entirely new angle when we find out, quite late on really, why he travelled to the US in the first place, and why he is prepared to continue to put up with the hardship of living in this state of suspended existence for many months - it is all due to a promise he made to his father before he died. I found this scene where he finally reveals this really surprisingly moving, and it affects me in much the same way that other films that cover the father-son relationship do, such as Field Of Dreams, and another I have just seen, About Time. The reason he has travelled is so trivial, and yet at the same time it is so powerful because no matter the triviality of it, he made a promise to his father, and he is keeping it. "Maybe I think he do it for me".
A wonderful heart-warming uplifting film I can watch over and over.
Viktor struggles at first as he knows very little English but slowly his figures out ways to survive and even makes friends and gets himself a job.
I absolutely love this film, it's different to what Spielberg usually does but I still think it has his stamp all over it and feels epic even though we don't leave the airport through most of the film. Hanks does an amazing job portraying Viktor's feelings and emotions through few words and a fantastic supporting cast including Stanley Tucci and Catherine Zeta Jones make this one of my all time favourites.
For a scene of high humour, you can't do better than the "table for two at the pop-up restaurant": the supporting actors made sure they max-ed out the opportunity to shine.
Here's why I didn't go for 5 stars: Catherine Zeta Jones didn't have much to do & hers was essentially a straight role in a film stacked out with funny roles. However, she put very little into the very little she was asked to do. I'd love to have seen Helen Hunt in that role.
It is almost impossible to believe that this film was NOT shot in an actual airport, so authentically have the interiors been created. And Tom Hanks will convince you that he IS a foreign visitor caught up in a nightmare of bureacracy when his country suffers a coup d'etat and the new regime is not recognised by the USA authorities, thus preventing his entry into the country. Neither can he return, and so he is condemned to a limbo existence in the airport.
The reason for his visit is not revealed until the very end, and provides a very moving finale to a most enjoyable film. Just suspend your disbelief here and there, and enter into the spirit of it all and you will be greatly rewarded.
If you haven't seen this film, you have a treat in store!
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