The Terminal is unlike the standard Spielberg film but so relevant to our times!

Fact is often stranger than fiction. And a Speilberg movie is often different from the usual. In 2018, the story of a Syrian national who got stuck at a Malaysian airport hit the headlines. But much before that came the story of a gent who lived in a small corner of #CharlesDeGalle airport for an unbelievable 18 long years !! That inspired the story of a movie produced and directed by #StevenSpielberg that released in 2004. It is streaming on #NetflixIndia. ASHOK’s FIVE reviews #TheTerminal featuring #TomHanks and #CatherineZetaJones in what is a funny, romantic and sentimental commentary on the world today.

At a time when everyone is in a headlong rush on the treadmill of life, this movie made me think about the joys of slowing down, listening intently, displaying patience and some bit of resourcefulness. Values that seem to be getting relegated into the background in the frenetic pace of the modern world but emerging out of the shadows in the wake of the post pandemic era. Victor Navroski (#TomHanks) gets stranded at JFK airport when his home country Karkozhia is dissolved in a revolution. He is stuck at the airport in a no man’s world unable to go home and unable to venture out. And to make matters worse, the bureaucracy works overtime to make things miserable for him.

Navroski is not someone who gives up easy. He demonstrates kindness, resourcefulness and an easy camaraderie with his new-found friends at the airport to win over the circumstances and light up his little world there. The star cast includes #CatherineZetaJones as Amelia Warren, the stewardess who is flitting across the world on flights and is also essentially living in airports. I think one of the best performances comes from #StanleyTucci who plays Frank Dixon, the classic bureaucrat with a large ego. “You are, at this time, unacceptable” he tells Navroski in his high-handed manner. He emphasizes this by smashing the packet of Lays on the table and the wafers fly out all over the coat.

On the television set in the background, the country of Karkozhia is crumbling! Dixon sends Navroski out on to the terminal with some meal vouchers, a 15 minute phone card and a pager. Days turn into weeks and Navroski makes Gate 67 his home. I think Director #StevenSpielberg and writer #JeffNathanson in a commentary on America, portray Dixon as a sly, cunning and unlikeable manager. In the scene where Dixon talks about the secret where the doors will be left open for five minutes, he is at his crafty best! #TomHanks is brilliant as Navroski. He makes the best of the calamity and makes friends with his kind-heartedness. He makes friends and becomes a local hero and a thorn in Dixon’s flesh! He learns English by looking at the subtitles on the television screens and ‘earns’ money by returning the luggage carts back to their station.

When the coins fly out of the slot and hit him on his face, he has an incredulous expression on his face. He also endears himself to his colleagues by helping Enrique the shy young man who finds it tough to express his love for a colleague. One can't help compare #Hanks with his roles in #CastAway and #ForrestGump. There is one scene where a plane taxiing across the runway wakes him up and he sits up screaming “Don't shoot”. And finally a word for Spielberg favourite #KumarPallana who plays Gupta. “You touch my mop and I will kill you” in typical American super-aggressive candour.

In another classic scene when Navroski is serenading Amelia, Gupta displays amazing talent for juggling hoops and spinning plates. For the perpetually agitated Indian cleaner, this is a moment of brilliance! It is curious that the film is named #TheTerminal when it is actually a human-interest story. In the story by #AndrewNiccols and #SachaGervasi, there is a lot of subtle messaging. In one significant long shot, out of the terminal that signifies that our protagonist is now all alone, not just in the terminal but on the world, #Speilberg makes you realize that life is all about sweating the small stuff. An interesting little film with many things to ponder upon!