The Terminal Review

by Susan Granger (ssg722 AT aol DOT com)
June 21st, 2004

Susan Granger's review of "The Terminal" (DreamWorks)
    Imagine being a visitor from Eastern Europe who is forced to make a New York airport's international transit lounge his home. That's what happens to Viktor Navorski (Tom Hanks) when he arrives in the United States and learns that war has erupted in Krakozhia, voiding his passport, leaving him a man without a country. Making friends among the airport workers, this resourceful traveler even touches the heart of a lovelorn flight attendant (Catherine Zeta-Jones).
    Viktor's nemesis is a heartless bureaucrat (Stanley Tucci), the acting Director of Customs and Border Protection. Rules and regulations prohibit him from letting Viktor leave the premises, yet Viktor's constant presence is equally unnerving. Inspired perhaps by the tale of Merhan Nasseri, an Iranian who was detained at Charles de Gaulle Airport near Paris in 1988, "The Terminal" reflects America's increasingly conflicted feelings about immigration and foreign threats.
    Not only can anyone who has ever traveled abroad relate to Viktor's plight but the perfectly cast supporting players - Chi McBride, Diego Luna, Kumar Pallana, Barry Shabaka Henley and Zoe Saldana - reflect the diversity that make America a melting pot. Andrew Niccol, Sacha Gervasi and Jeff Nathanson have written a heart-tugging yet light-hearted human drama with refreshing comedic undertones, and it's one of Steven Spielberg's most loving, romantic creations, subtly photographed by Janusz Kaminski and scored by John Williams. Tom Hanks delivers yet another indelible, heroic performance, proving why he's one of our most talented screen actors. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "The Terminal" is a crowd-pleasing, touching 10. Prepare to laugh, to cry and to relish, once again, the magic of the movies.

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