The Terminal is a 2004 American comedy-drama film directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Tom Hanks and Catherine Zeta-Jones. It is about a man who becomes trapped in New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport terminal when he is denied entry into the United States and at the same time cannot return to his native country due to a military coup. The film is partially inspired by the 18-year stay of Mehran Karimi Nasseri in Terminal 1 of Charles de Gaulle International Airport, Paris, France, from 1988 to 2006.
After arriving at New York’s JFK airport, Viktor Navorski (Hanks) gets unwittingly caught in bureaucratic glitches that make it impossible for him to return to his home country or enter the U.S. Now, caught up in the richly complex and amusing world inside the airport, Viktor makes friends, gets a job, finds romance and ultimately discovers America itself.
I’ve been waiting for the longest time to talk about this movie because let me tell you folks out there, this is in my top 10 Steven Spielberg directed movies, I absolutely love this film.
I love this movie for a number of reasons. First off, the premise, I think, is such a clever and interesting concept that’s been inspired by such an odd situation about this guy who’s been stuck in an airport for 18 years in France, it just leads to so many possibilities of what kind of fascinating stories can be told and this movie definitely does that.
Second, the casting, Tom Hanks does yet another really solid job playing Viktor Navorski and even doing a pretty good foreign accent…for a country that was completely made up for the film. Yeah, no surprise, they made the country of Krakozhia up:
Krakozhia (Кракозия or Кракожия) is a fictional country, created for the film, that closely resembles a former Soviet Republic or Eastern Bloc state.
The exact location of Krakozhia is kept intentionally vague in the film, keeping with the idea of Viktor being simply Eastern European or from a former Soviet Republic. However, in one of the scenes, a map of Krakozhia is briefly displayed on one of the airport’s television screens during a news report on the ongoing conflict, and its borders are those of the Republic of Macedonia. The film presents a reasonably accurate picture of the process of naturalistic second-language acquisition, according to professional linguist Martha Young-Scholten.
John Williams, the film’s composer, also wrote a national anthem for Krakozhia.
Anyway, getting off subject here, back to the casting.
Hanks is really good in this, Catherine Zeta Jones is really good in this, I love this chemistry they establish together, Stanley Tucci is really good in this film, there’s a great supporting cast, Zoe Saldana, Chi McBride, Diego Luna, Eddie Jones, the cast in this movie is absolutely fantastic in this.
Third, the film does a great job blending comedy and drama nicely, the dialogue in this movie is pitch perfect, there’s a lot of great talent on the writing front, you have Andrew Niccol, the writer/director of Lord Of War & Gattaca, Sacha Gervasi, the director of Hitchcock and the writer of Anvil! The Story Of Anvil, and Jeff Nathanson, who’s written a ton of great work in the past and the present such as Rush Hour 2, Catch Me If You Can, The Last Shot, Tower Heist, and yes, even Speed 2 and Indiana Jones 4….COME AT ME FOLKS!!! I’M A MAN, I’M 40…..actually, I’m 27 but you get my point.
Fourth and probably my favorite aspect about this movie is that The Terminal was a massive turning point for Steven Spielberg and proved that he could direct these great movies that are not blockbusters or high budget fares and still make a really great movie. I absolutely love this movie, I think it’s not only Spielberg’s most underrated film as a director but it’s also one of Spielberg’s best movies as a director, there’s a ton of people I know out there that haven’t seen it yet and I’m telling you folks, you’re doing a disservice, check this movie out and you will definitely not disappointed.