Movie Analysis: The Terminal (2004)

introducing navorski was a master-class in building sympathy for a character – fish out of water (see also: mean girls), learns about the destruction of his homeland from far, nobody helps him, nobody cares about him. There’s a great scene where we see him despairing, and then the camera zooms out from him until he’s just a faceless person in a big crowd. one of spielberg’s classic moves?
nice use of the overall development of the character from unknown to beloved by the whole community. Nobody can give him a job because of bureaucracy – no social security number, no home address, etc.
despite being in a difficult state he helped the man with the medicine for his father – he didn’t have to, but he did, because of some underlying decency
his mission to help his father who’s already dead – a sense of moral code, underlying belief – we want to help a person who has that, even if we don’t have that themselves
dogged persistence with the forms, rather than giving up and being depressed – we admire that in a person
learning about the quarters, making progress, but then having that taken away from him – you have to give your characters something and then take it away from them, now we’re invested, we want to see them get justice
it’s nice to see navorski make friends with the staff and slowly win them over one by one
the old indian guy’s character is a bit of a predictable trope but it’s well used. them coming together to help him with his dinner was a nice touch, the dinner ultimately not working out was also a nice touch.
zeta-jones character was rather flat, seemed tacked on rather than carefully considered. she was a hot-babe-mcguffin, an object of interest for the protagonist. We sympathized with him when she seemed to wave at him but was waving at somebody else, minor cringe. she has a lousy relationship with her partner, who’s married and cheating on his spouse. Her relationship with Navorski doesn’t really feel believable – it moves a bit too fast, she’s a bit too responsive, it’s just not very plausible.
learned afterwards that the set was built from scratch, which is pretty amazing. beautifully done set. the immigration/visa office was wonderfully bureaucratic with its cold white lights and harsh cubicle interior. why do we design places like that?
The film is a pleasant time-pass but nothing amazing. 3/5

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