The Terminal

The most extraordinary and thought-provoking idea, conveyed in the most simple and effortless manner, is the greatest display of creativity in the movie, The Terminal. Based on something which perhaps has been considered a traveler’s worst nightmare, the movie has the audience bellowing with laughter, while at the same time, feeling horrified by the thought of being in the position that Victor Navorski has been placed in, as a result of the coup in his country and a vicious Acting Field Commissioner at JFK Airport in New York.


Absolutely deserted at an airport where everyone is too busy with their own schedules to take a minute out for someone in need, staring at people in restaurants and café’s, gulfing down morsels, while not having a single penny in his own pocket, watching people run around actively fresh, while not being able to get a small bed for himself to rest on, Victor Navorski succeeds, using the remarkable creativity of the writers and outstanding ingenuity of the production team, in managing to make the audience put themselves in his position, to imagine what it would be like to be in such a helpless and exasperating situation.


Being stuck with no way out, the enterprising nature of his actions and the determined nature of his resolve are the primary contributors in helping Victor make his stay at the airport a better experience, than what it initially starts out to be. Any other person in his position would simply have sat himself down, and wailed till someone came along to shut him up, but Victor, on the other hand, did not show signs of weakness or of defeat at any point during the course of the movie. Instead, Victor adopts the lifestyle of the people at the airport and made efforts to mould his ways according to those of who he was spending so many months of his life in the midst of, which is a huge compromise in itself, and is only possible for a person who shows strength of character and creativity of thought.


In addition to the exceptional acting done by the award-winning cast, the movie is one of Steven Spielberg’s finest, displaying brilliance through the well-balanced mix of the variations in the sounds, lights and pace of the story-line. The movie slows down at the right moments, the ones that requires calmness and subtlety, and picks up at others that require a more chaotic and frantic situation. The lighting remains more or less at a constant intensity throughout the movie, but dims in perfect coordination with the start of the scenes that require it to be more focused, such as the point where Victor reveals the fountain for his new-found love. The moments where the precariousness needs to be shown, the camera subtly zooms out to reveal the hopelessness of the surroundings that the foreigner is trapped in.


The Terminal has been able to become a global hit-film, solely because of the beauty in the formation of Victor Navorski’s character. The right things said at the right moments, and the perfect actions done at the perfect situations, are what make the character interesting; at no point of the movie does the character become monotonous, boring or predictable, but remains gripping and engaging throughout. The writers have indeed done justice to the thought they penned, and the Tom Hanks has definitely portrayed the thoughts of the writers in remarkable fashion.


Aitzaz Rehman Sheikh


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