The Terminal. Movie review.

Cover of "The Terminal (Widescreen Editio...
Cover of The Terminal (Widescreen Edition)

The Terminal is a movie directed by Steven Spielberg. It was released in Norway in December in 2004. The movie is based on a true story of a man named Mehran Karimi Nasseri. He spent eighteen years in the Charles de Gaulle International Airport in Paris before departing to his home country.
The Terminal’s set was placed in a hangar which was staged to look like
Düsseldorf International Airport; in the movie the airport portrays JFK (John F. Kennedy) International Airport in New York. Even though this movie housed some great actors (Tom Hanks, Catherine Zeta-Jones among others) it didn’t get a great reception, the critics were very mixed in their opinions and none of them were too positive.    

The movie opens by showing a reception hall at the airport; it is empty until it fills with people arriving from a plain. By showing how the people stream in it show the familiar busy environment you met in every airport. To make the scene look chaotic and ant-like the beginning of the scene is filmed from above. People are stressing in and out through the boarding control, and we get to see a few stereotypes of tourists: “the Chinese” and “the French” which are very typical charac­ters to find in movies which contains any scene at an airport.
Characteristic for all the arrival people is that they get accepted to pass, then Viktor Navorski enters and his passport is rejected.    

Further through the movie Victor’s story is told bit by bit while his life at the moment has come to an absolute halt. Other characters are intro­duced one by one. The fist man Viktor has to relate to is immigration of­ficer Frank Dixon, but he can’t really communicate with him because he can only a few common phrases in English.
Dixon provides him with some food vouchers and puts him back in the ter­minal convinced that Viktor will try to escape and in that way become someone else’s problem.
The food vouchers ends on the floor and are thrown in the thrash. Vik­tor has to get food in other ways.
To get money to buy food Viktor takes on the task of retrieving vacant baggage trolleys for the 25 cent reward from the machine. This works well until Dixon hires someone to take care of the trolleys.
The reason Viktor can’t enter New York and not return home is that his country, Krakozhia, is no longer recognized by the United States as a country due to the liberty fighter who took control over Krakozhia while Viktor’s airplane was in the air.
While living at the airport Viktor makes many friends, and he is recognized by the people working there. For a while he works at the airport for as a construction worker for $19 hour.
There is an unfulfilled love story between Viktor Navorski and the flight attendant Amelia Warren, a lady who always picks the wrong men.
In the end Amelia manage to get an emergency passport by getting back into the bad, romance relationship she had to a married man.   

The Terminal is a movie which makes you reflect upon life, it makes you think: “what would I do if I was stranded in an airport?” Viktor can’t get out of the airport and he can’t go home. Dixon is forced to try to make him break the rules, as Viktor finds himself in a blind spot: he can’t be accepted to go home, nor can he be accepted into the US as a refugee. 
Steven Spielberg tried creating the movie in a way that the characters we meet in the movie are “real” people we are likely to run into in a real airport.   

Tom Hanks as Viktor

We got the main character Vikt-or Navorski, he is a typical eastern European in the way that he doesn’t speak much English, is hard-working, not too talkative and brutally honest. His unselfish compassion to fulfill his promise to his dead dad touches the audience in a way that makes them sympathize with him. When he falls in love with Amelia it’s easy to see that it is a love that will never get a chance to live, and we feel sorry for him. In some way he is a warm person who is impossible to insult because he has such a positive nature.
Through the movie Viktor remains static; it’s the other people who change, not him.
Viktor Navorski is beautifully portrayed by Tom Hanks, and there aren’t many actors out there who could’ve played the role in the brilliant way Tom does. Tom Hanks has an awkwardness and energy to him that very few other actors hold and he manage to make us believe he is from a foreign country. Without Tom Hanks “The Terminal” would most likely been rated as a B-production and not got as much attention as it got.    


Amelia Warren is the woman who is always involved in miserable relationships; she is dating a married man even when she knows that he is married. It doesn’t matter to her that he is married because she believe her relationships is doomed from the start, she just want to be in a relationship for the moment. Even though she is the kind of woman who can get any man she wants, she ends up picking the wrong men because she doesn’t really believe she can be meet someone she can spend her life with.
Since she works as a flight attendant she is always on the move, stressing from A to B, and that’s how she meets Viktor. As other Americans she is quite ignorant and doesn’t read signs, not even those who signalize “wet floor.” When she meets Viktor for the first time he tries to prevent her from slipping on the wet floor, where she falls and the heel on her shoe breaks.
Catherine Zeta-Jones is a gifted actress that plays the role of Amelia. Even though she is a great actress I find it hard to believe in the relationship between her character and Viktor, simply because she is too gorgeous-looking to care about a man who stalks her in the airport.     

Frank Dixon is an immigrant officer and becomes the head chief. Through the movie he is a kind of bad guy, but it’s also easy to understand his perspective. He is only doing his job.
Sometimes his methods are a little over the edge as he tries to make Viktor leave the airport and make him someone else’s problem. It’s hard for Dixon because he really wants the leader position and he doesn’t want to risk losing it by going easy on Viktor. 
In the end he transform into something more monster-like as the war in Krakozhia comes to an end and he still doesn’t want to allow Viktor into the US. He tries to force Viktor into going back to Krakozhia by threatening to tell on Viktor’s newfound friends, but then his guards turn against him and let Viktor enter New York.
Dixon is portrayed by the well-known actor Stanley Tucci.    

Rajar Gupta is by all means the scene-stealer in this movie, his role is small and simple but he steals the show in every scene he’s in by uttering lines like: “If you touch my mop again I’ll Kill you.” Gupta is one of the characters who lighten up the movie by his humorous appearance. It is Gupta who throws Viktor’s food vouchers in the trash in the beginning of the movie and he is quite cold and reserved towards him. As the movie goes on Gupta turns out to be one of Viktor’s closest allies: in the end Gupta turns himself in to make Viktor’s flight delayed so that Victor can get the last autograph for his father’s collection.  

Rajar Gupta is portrayed by Kumar Pallana.    

Dolores & Enrique

Enrique Cruz is brought into the story as the one who gives Viktor food; on the condition that Viktor ask Dolores (a female security officer) questions and basically reveals what’s in her heart. When Viktor agrees to this deal Enrique becomes Viktor’s first friend. With Viktor’s help Enrique later marries Dolores.
Enrique is a colorful character which is brought to life by the Mexican actor Diego Luna.   

Dolores Torres is brought into the movie early. In the beginning she is quite strict and formal with a loud and clear “Next!” but through the movie she develop into a warmer person who feels sorry for Viktor’s destiny. Dolores is portrayed by Zoe Saldana.   

The Terminal takes place at an airport, and most of the story happens in the airport. In the end we follow Viktor as he goes to a hotel where he gets his card signed by the jazz musician Benny Golson. The movie ends when Viktor has fulfilled his task by putting the autographed card into the box of autograph and get into a taxi telling the driver he’s going home. 
Through the movie we hear some jazz-like music, especially when Amelia comes. Violins are used to tone the scenes down; dark grayish colors are also used to make a more sentimental, down-to-earth setting.    

Camera setting in this movie is mostly used to show authority of the characters. When Dixon talks to Victor the scene is filmed on ‘high cam’ and when Viktor speaks to someone it’s nearly always filmed on ‘low cam’ to show where the characters are placed in the social hierarchy. The ‘high cam’ can also, in the beginning, show how lost and small Viktor feels in the cynical airport society. When he is asking for help people are just passing by, and he doesn’t understand what anyone is saying.
The camera shows an overview whenever Viktor feels confusion.      

We can learn a lot from “The Terminator,” and from Viktor. Viktor is a warm, positive person who is very serious without taking life too seriously; he has a path in life he attempts to follow. When his life is on wait he still manages to keep his hopes up, he never gives up. That positive attitude is missing in many of today’s societies.  We need to learn that the world won’t blow up just because our plans get changed or delayed by unforeseen obstacles.  


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