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The Terminal

Life is Waiting 

Year: 2004 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (XWide) 
Certificate: BBFC 12A Cert – Under 12s admitted only with an adult 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  
An image from The Terminal

Based on the true story of a man stranded at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport for several years, The Terminal revolves around Victor Navorski, (Hanks) a native of a fictional country which undergoes a revolution whilst his plane is in the air. Due to some intricacy of the US immigration system, poor old Victor is neither allowed to enter the states, or return home. Thus he becomes a resident of JFK International Airport, where he meets Amelia Warren, (Zeta-Jones) - the obligatory love-interest.

While most of the plot is relatively straightforward, the romantic element is far from clear cut; in fact, it is positively confused. For the most part Spielberg is pretty good at making sure we know what to feel, but in this case I really don't know what attitude we are supposed to have towards Amelia Warren. Pity? Disapproval? In some circumstances this ambiguity could be seen as a positive thing, but in such a straight forward film it feels out of place.

Hanks manages the vaguely eastern European accent well and is by turns funny, tragic and tender. There is a wonderful naiveté about Navorksi that makes him almost reminiscent of Charlie Chaplin in some of the more slapstick scenes, such as when he makes a bed out of discarded waiting lounge couches.  Catherine Zeta-Jones is adequate as the film's token female, although her part must have been made quite difficult by the confused love story. The real stars are the friends Navorski makes whilst living in the airport; cleaners, baggage handlers, homeland security officers, catering staff^Å all the kinds of people you hardly ever see in airports. They are wonderfully human characters despite their menial jobs.

As well as the obvious big crowd scenes, peopled by hundreds of admirably animated extras, the majority of
the story is told through small scenes in which the huge backdrop of JFK international transit lounge is all but irrelevant. At the end of the day, The Terminal is simply a good way to spend a couple of hours.

Seamus Bradley               

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Screenings of this film:

2004/2005 Spring Term (35mm)
2004/2005 Spring Term (35mm)