The Terminal is based on the real life story of Merhan Nasseri, who ended up living in Charles de Gaulle airport after being denied entry to England. Several details have been changed in this film, but the premise remains the same. Hanks plays Viktor Navorski, a resident of the fictional country "Krakozhia", travelling to JFK, one of America’s largest airports. Unfortunately, a military coup takes place in Navorski’s country while he is on the flight, meaning the United States no longer recognises his country or his visa.
Unable to enter America or leave the country, Navorski is left with no choice but to live in the airport until the coup is settled, during which time he learns how to speak English and earn money amongst other things.
Tom Hanks is an excellent actor and thanks to a well-crafted script, he manages to portray Viktor as a wonderfully congenial, likeable, innocent and charming man. There’s also nothing wrong with the direction of course - after all, The Beard has proved he knows where to point a camera in his long and successful career.
Like many recent comedies, The Terminal tries to mix comedy and tragedy to send the viewer on an emotional roller coaster, and Catherine Zeta Jones’ character is also included to add the romantic aspect. While this sort of Hollywood formula can be seen as a little cynical, it is used because it is generally what the audience wants to see and the result is therefore nothing out of the ordinary.
However, the very premise of this film is amusing and the finished product is nothing if not entertaining, so do see this film if you are after a couple of hours of concentration-free entertainment, but otherwise it is not worth a special effort. Interestingly enough, Merhan Nasseri, the real life Viktor, apparently still resides at Charles de Gaulle airport, despite being given permission to leave.