The Terminal- Movie Review
As a man without a country, you’d expect Viktor Navorski to try to find an escape. Instead, in just over 2 hours, Steven Spielberg takes us through his journey of life waiting in an airport.
When he lands, Viktor can’t understand the authorities, cannot call home and no one stops to help him. Life in the terminal is like a mirage, and the direction beautifully depicts how lonely he feels in such a crowded place.
As war erupts on his homeland, officer Dixon watches him through security cameras without compassion, failing to understand him as a human being. As he walks around in a bathrobe, takes showers in the sink, collects trolleys to buy lunch and unscrews chairs for a make-shift bed, he surpasses his ‘lost passenger’ tag.
On Gate 67, he learns how to communicate in English, makes friends, plays matchmaker, finds love, gets his heart broken and even selflessly helps another foreigner to get medicine home to his father.
The metaphors take it to another level- from his photocopied handprints becoming a symbol of unity throughout the terminal, giving new meaning to words like ‘unacceptable’, and being told to wait by Benny Golson himself after a 9-month delay. It’s more than halfway through the movie that we realize why he chooses to endure it all and find out the story behind the can of peanuts he refuses to let go of, and Tom Hanks’ performance keeps us transfixed. The movie is about finding an identity, a purpose. How by simply being a good person and doing what he enjoyed, he found a decent job.
Every scene toys with our emotions, and when nothing else could crack him, he gets ready to give up his promise to save his friends without even telling them and is even called a coward for it. Gupta, who starts off as a selfish man, earlier left his family to escape jail and saw people slip on the wet floor for entertainment, becomes a better man and chooses to help Viktor, leaving the audience teary-eyed.
It is well known that the movie is inspired by a true story, but what’s not recognised is how Spielberg created the whole movie set from scratch, and how Hanks nailed the accent as a homage to his Bulgarian father-in-law.
Viktor Navorski truly was the GOAT, and his last line stays with us all.
“I am going home.”