Terminal is Vaughn Stein’s first feature film, starring none other than the fabulous Margot Robbie, who is joined by Simon Pegg, Mike Myers and a host of well-known actors. The movie is filled with references to other art forms, from literature to film, with a particular focus on cinematography. The result is a rather slow-burning experience with tedious narrative explanations and a dragging first and second act, after which the audience still feels confused about what any of this is about.
Perhaps the biggest problem with the picture – besides its occasionally poor editing – is the character development and its connection to the plot. There are several leads in this neon-heavy environment that contribute even more to disconnecting us emotionally from what’s going on in the story. There is no time period and there are no real locations – apart from a diner, a strip club and a couple of generic rooms. In many ways, that make the characters feel like they are part of a comic book we’re leafing through.
And that would be ok if at least there was one character with enough depth for the audience to get invested in. Annie (played by Robbie) is a lethal killer with clear signs of psychopathy, resembling a 50s version of DC’s Harley Quinn. Later in the movie, some details about her past are revealed; details that are supposed to make us care about her, or at least feel some sort of sympathy considering the situations she has had to go through. However, the reaction is quite the opposite, and this shouldn’t be the case for the hero/anti-hero of the story.
Probably one of the best performances – or at least the most enjoyable – is Simon Pegg’s: subtle, effective and funny as ever. He somehow elevates both the entertainment value and the quality of the feature every time he steps into a scene, and as such the actor is one of the highlights of the whole production, next to the visuals and the costume design.
Another reason why the film doesn’t end up being as effective as it could have been is the climax, which is full of twists that happen near the end of the piece which haven’t been hinted at or developed – or in some cases even needed – during the previous hour of running time. Consequently, the reveal feels like a new piece of information we have to digest whether we like or not.
Terminal is a noir film with a convoluted plot that won’t satisfy many, a stylish piece of cinema with strong cinematography and costume design but without a soul to rely on.
Terminal is released nationwide on 6th July 2018.
Watch the trailer for Terminal here: