Directed by: STEVEN SPIELBERG
Produced by: LAURIE MACDONALD
HANKS, CATHERINE ZETA-JONES
Released by: Dreamworks
Terminal is a relatively tasty morsel in
an otherwise milquetoast genre.
Never Had So Much Fun at the Airport
the amount of time we spend eating in nice restaurants—and
writing about eating in nice restaurants—it
doesn’t seem possible that we could be impressed
by a meal of airplane food (straight from the trays)
served by candlelight on a back hallway balcony overlooking
a runway at JFK Airport. But halfway through The Terminal,
as Tom Hanks and Catherine Zeta-Jones sit down to
eat, impressed we were. Airport food, from burgers
and fries sold in the terminal to ready-made meals
served on planes, plays a major role in this movie.
And somehow, given the associations that come with
often actually looks appealing.
for the movie itself, the premise is pure Steven Spielberg:
goofy, sappy and clunky (but forgivably so) in parts.
Hanks plays Viktor Navorski, traveling from a fictitious
country to New York City to fulfill a promise he made
to his now dead father. Upon arrival, the bumbling
Viktor (who speaks very little English) learns that
a coup overturned his country’s government and
he is now stateless—unable
to come or go. Trapped in JFK, he makes himself at
develops some friendships along the way.
While much is made of his budding romance with Amelia,
played by Catherine Zeta-Jones, it is actually his
relationships with three airport workers that steal
the show. In particular, Kumar Pallana (of Wes Anderson
movie fame) stands out as a curmudgeonly janitor,
Gupta, who thinks Viktor is CIA sent to spy on the
airport crews. He dominates every scene that includes
him, especially the ones in which, having just mopped
the floor, he sits down on a bench and waits for someone
to come along and slip—his
only form of entertainment in what we eventually learn
is a very bleak life. He also lights up the balcony
dinner scene, although we don’t want to give
too much away. In short, The Terminal is a relatively
tasty morsel in an otherwise milquetoast genre.