The Run Down Review on "The Terminal" with Tom Hanks and Catherine Zeta-Zones (2004)

The Terminal,


Directed and Produced by Steven Spielberg

Starring Tom Hanks and Catherine Zeta-Jones

Review Written By: Kathy Hodorek

The Terminal is a drama/comedy that takes place at a JFK airport terminal in New York City.  Viktor Navorski (Hanks) is scheduled to depart to his native east European country of Krakozhia, but finds out that a revolution and civil unrest has broken out at home.  As a result, the United States no longer recognizes Krakozhia as a sovereign nation.  Not only is Navorski’s citizenship revoked to the U.S. due to a voided passport, but he is also unable to return to his home country.  His only recourse is to live at the terminal.

Viktor befriends the staff, but Immigration Officer Frank Dixon (Stanley Tucci) wants him removed.  Dixon tries several tactics including depriving him of food and other means, and constantly trying to have him arrested.  Despite Dixon’s tactics, Navorski becomes creative in his endeavors to earn money and make a living there.  He retrieves vacant baggage trolleys for 25 cents each, sets up a date for a caterer in exchange for food, and works as an off-the-books airport construction worker for $19 an hour.

He and flight attendant Amelia Warren (Jones) meet and she asks him out to dinner.  During the course of their conversation, Amelia learns that Viktor’s reason for visiting New York was to attain the autograph of jazz saxophonist Benny Golson.  His late father had been a jazz enthusiast and planned to collect the autographs of all 57 jazz players from the photograph “A Great Day in Harlem.”

Several months go by, and the war in Krakozhia ends, but Dixon will still not allow Viktor to leave the United States.  However, between Amelia’s connections and the friends he has made there, he is allowed to leave the airport.  He hails a cab, ordering the driver to take him to the Ramada Inn where Benny Golson will be performing.  As he leaves, he and Amelia exchange wistful smiles of gratitude and victory.  He attends the show, collects the autograph, then tells the cab driver to take him to the airport since he is finally going home.

This film is said to be inspired by the 18-year stay of Mehran Nasseri in the Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris from 1988 to 2006.

This movie combines humor, romance, poignant moments, and history – all in one believable story. Tom Hanks, again, brings us the role of the “nice guy,” the kind that we root for, with acting that is unsurpassed in this film.

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