Thursday, September 23, 2004

Review: The Terminal

In 1988 Merhan Karimi Nasseri was exiled from Iran for protesting against the Shah, and flew to Paris to claim asylum. His request was rejected, and he found himself in a bizarre no man’s land: exiled from home, and barred from entering France. A man with no country, he has been living in Charles De Gaulle airport ever since.

Steven Spielberg’s latest film, The Terminal, is based on this premise, but not on Nasseri himself. Spielberg’s hero is Viktor Navorski (Tom Hanks), who arrives in the US to find his native Krakozhia has lost its international recognition while he was in the air

It is not a breathtaking film ! It by no means is a blockbuster, something Steven Spielberg is associated with !

It is a simple piece of movie magic, a subtle humorous rendition of a real life experience.

In terms of characters, The Terminal presents us with a friendly but simple foreign tourist. This was a double edged sword because making Navorski clever meant he would leave the airport but making him dopey allowed him to fall into the cracks of the American system. The Terminal opted for the second option as it surely garnered more sympathy from the fictional airport workers and real life moviegoers. Navorski’s English is poor, to say the least, which provided for a few jabs at his mispronunciations. Eventually though, he does becomes Americanized, designer suit and American slang included.

Hanks has us in the palm of his hand with his engaging performance as the bumbling good guy, with fruity eastern European accent, slapstick pratfalls and comic timing. He gets laughter out of simple things such as trying to sleep on airport furniture and is adept at conveying Navorski's playful nature as he grows in his command of English (it's amazing what you can learn from airport bookstores when you're stuck there for months on end).

Navorski befriends other ethnic minority ‘refugees' who work at the airport, helping one in his hesitant courtship.One of them being a Mr.Gupta who escapes from the Indian police to find a job at an American Airport !! Slowly, Indian characters are being embedded into the American film diaspora !! :)

He also strikes up a friendship with an attractive flight attendant (Catherine Zeta Jones) who is looking for love in all the wrong men. Could she get it with Navorski? Her scenes with Hanks work well, Zeta Jones is too accomplished an actress to turn in a bad performance, so maybe it's the script that just doesn't flesh out her character enough. Stanley Tucci as the upwardly mobile airport chief is as watchable as ever - a serpent in a suit, foiled in his attempts to rid himself of the man who stands between him, a well-run airport and promotion.

Tom Hanks loves to do these kind of roles. Castaway reminded !

But surely, the movie doesnt even come close to a Spielberg production. His movies are meant to be huge, with menacing reptiles or encounters with extra terrestrials.

On the whole, I was pleasantly amused with the screenplay. Kudos to the american film makers for taking up such storylines...when can we remotely expect something similar from Indian producers ??

Fortunately for us, we watched it on a VCD. Didnt spend a huge chunk of money...


Blogger Blog World said...

Faith is spiritualized imagination.
Henry Ward Beecher- Posters.

9:45 PM  

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