The Terminal D.J. Caruso

The Terminal D.J. Caruso
American everyman Tom Hanks plays Viktor Navorski, who travels from Krakozhia (a fictitious eastern European country) to see America for the first time. As a coup back home renders Viktor technically stateless, he's stuck at New York's JFK Airport in bureaucratic limbo. Hard-assed immigration boss Frank Dixon (Stanley Tucci) can't send him home but is unable to kick him out either (as another Fed could book him as an illegal alien). So, Viktor lives at JFK, returning coin-deposit luggage carts to eat at Burger King, playing go-between for two airport workers and romancing a jilted American stewardess (Catherine Zeta-Jones). Spielberg fails to weave this thin story into a convincing fairy tale. He sugar-coats "homeland security" and glosses over airport paranoia — two realities impossible to ignore. Starting with Hanks, all the characters are lovable, nice and totally unconvincing. The movie fails to take a moral stance on anything out of risk of offending somebody. Instead, The Terminal offers scene after scene of product placement as Viktor lives inside an airport that looks just like a suburban shopping mall. Tom Hanks is a versatile, skilled actor, but we never believe him as a trapped tourist who (surprise, surprise) turns into a lovable foreigner. Viktor even learns fluent English during the film. The low point comes with his hokey candlelight romance with Zeta-Jones. It's a pity that a filmmaker of Spielberg's power doesn't have the guts to make a film that takes a stand on something, anything. If he truly wanted to make a point with The Terminal, he should have cast Viktor as a brown-skinned character and renamed him Mohammed. This bare-bones single-disc version of the DVD offers only the film in widescreen with no extras. (Dreamworks/Universal)