The Terminal


What a cosy little lie this film is. The true-life story of The Terminal involves a lonely Iranian exile going insane in Charles de Gaulle airport, where the authorities blow up his belongings if he leaves them unattended. He's transformed here into friendly Victor Navorski, Tom Hanks' panto puppy-dog take on a nondescript Eastern European (the film couldn't possibly, of course, focus on a Middle-Easterner). Trapped between states at JFK airport, he gets into - ooooh! - all sorts of japes, making multicultural mates (Black! Asian! Latino!) with a cast of kooks and meeting cute with Catherine Zeta-Jones's empty-headed air hostess.

A limp, `be nice' liberal fantasy, it's smothered by its good intentions and isn't anywhere near as daring as it thinks it is - the hero isn't an illegal immigrant (imagine!) but a doe-eyed Slav on a quest; the state isn't oppressive, just Stanley Tucci's uptight bureaucrat. No one here is remotely real and even Spielberg isn't convinced by the romance, swathed in gee-shucks sentimentality that proves to be terminally insincere. This isn't the worst film star or director has made, but it could be the smuggest.

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