Rating: PG-13 for adult suggestion and language
Run Time: 2 hours, 4 minutes
Steven Spielberg climbs back in the saddle with a ubiquitously engaging tale of a stranger in a strange land.
Navorski (Tom Hanks) lands at
The poor soul is offered a handful of food vouchers and a pager, and dispatched to the confines of the International Lounge. And he waits… with exaggerated patience and attention to detail.
six-hundred planes arriving and departing the bustling terminal on a daily
that Viktor evolves into an unlikely champion of the downtrodden is one of the
many delights of this far-fetched but prepossessing fantasy. While
Spielberg has developed a soft spot to complement his gift of storytelling. That works both for and against him, lightening the mood when need be but pushing the schmaltz past its natural shelf life. One-note narrative joke runs a little ragged at two-hours plus, casting about for the ultimate feel-good climax. The subtler implications of Viktor’s inimitable status are pregnant with charm.
Hanks delivers an Oscar-worthy performance that smacks of shipwrecked Chuck Nolan of Cast Away fame, laying the goodwill on thick. It’s not without effect; Hanks is a master of his craft and hunky to boot. Tucci and Zeta-Jones add welcome doses of contemporary cynicism.
Production design is top-notch; narrowed in scope to a fully functioning airport terminal/shopping concourse (hello product placements!) created solely for the film. Welcome to Spielberg’s world; you wouldn’t want to live there but it’s a nice place to visit.