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Spielberg and Hanks reunite at ’The Terminal’


MADRID – In Steven Spielberg’s “The Terminal,” Tom Hanks is an Eastern European émigré marooned at JFK Airport.

The new film, based loosely on the true story of an Iranian man stranded at the Airport in Paris after the fall of the Shah, takes place within the claustrophobic confines of an airport terminal. This situation, which would seem like a nightmare for most of us, is endured by Viktor Navorski (Tom Hanks) after the government of his country, the fictitious Krakozia, is abolished following a military coup.

In “The Terminal,” Spielberg underscores the bureaucratic void that exists between our Homeland Security policies and the genuine needs of political exiles. The man who has said “I dream for a living” has created a frightening fable that juxtaposes the compelling allure of capitalism against the fragmented conditions of our globalized planet.

Tom Hanks, who has assured that he “didn't become an actor to develop a personality cult or to get power over people. I went into this because it's fun, because it's a great way to make a living,” (Playboy) seems at ease in a role that requires him to be contained yet on the edge of a crisis.

During his stay in “The Terminal,” Viktor must confront Frank Dixon (Stanley Tucci), a grim Homeland Security officer waiting for a promotion who is inconvenienced by the bureaucratic predicament that Viktor poses. Meanwhile, he relies upon a few colorful characters, including Gupta (Kumar Pallana), an impish Indian janitor, Joe (Chi McBride), a grumpy baggage handler and Enrique (Diego Luna), an amicable food server.

Enrique’s infatuation with Dolores (Zoë Saldana), an immigration officer, offers a playful subplot. Viktor also has a love interest in the person of Amelia (Catherine Zeta-Jones), a disillusioned flight attendant.

At times “The Terminal” succumbs to its melodramatic inclinations, but ultimately it offers, as most Spielberg films do, moments of entertainment excellence. Aided by John Williams's tender score, Janusz Kaminski's lustrous cinematography and Alex McDowell's scrupulous set design, “The Terminal,” will certainly inject some calculated cool into the summer stillness.

“The Terminal” is rated PG-13 (Parents strongly cautioned). It includes some mild sexual references and a bit of strong language.

Directed by Steven Spielberg; written by Sacha Gervasi and Jeff Nathanson, based on a story by Andrew Niccol and Mr. Gervasi; director of photography, Janusz Kaminski; edited by Michael Kahn; music by John Williams; production designer, Alex McDowell; produced by Walter F. Parkes, Laurie MacDonald and Mr. Spielberg; released by DreamWorks Pictures. Running time: 128 minutes. This film is rated PG-13.
WITH: Tom Hanks (Viktor Navorski), Catherine Zeta-Jones (Amelia Warren), Stanley Tucci (Frank Dixon), Chi McBride (Joe Mulroy), Diego Luna (Enrique Cruz), Barry Shabaka Henley (Thurman), Kumar Pallana (Gupta Rajan) and Zoë Saldana (Dolores Torres)


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