Film reviews

Edinburgh International Film Festival: Terminal

What can I say that is positive about Terminal? It has some funny moments. I guess it looks quite pretty as well? It is neon-drenched and full of atmospheric smoke and dust. But look behind this semi-beautiful sheen and what you will find is a horrid and hollow mess that is full of over the top characters, terrible dialogue and enough bad acting to fill the Razzie’s nomination list. I think it is safe to say I didn’t enjoy Terminal, not even a little bit.

We open on Margot Robbie in a confessions box in a church. Summing up the movie in one scene, she lights a cigarette and says in a bad Londoner accent: “Bless me, father, for I have sinned.” There are edgy characters all desperate for attention; and all running around with over the top British accents and badly written dialogue.

The movie is set primarily in the terminal of a train station in London. Margot Robbie plays a mysterious blonde with a passion for Lewis Carroll’s novel Alice in Wonderland. This is something the movie will not let you forget as it is constantly in your face referencing and quoting to demonstrate that London is supposed to be her Wonderland and she is trying to be a mixture of Alice and the Mad Hatter. A hired gun asks the anonymous Mr Franklin for the exclusive rights to his contracts, something he will give her if she takes out the pair hired previously.

Then we cut away and meet a man (Simon Pegg) on the platform of the train station looking for a train going nowhere, coughing away and slowly dying. He is told there are none by the night supervisor (Mike Myers) and decides to get a coffee at The End of The Line Café. Who should be in there but Margot Robbie, completely different in appearance from when we last saw her, this time as a waitress. From there they discuss his illness and how he is terminal. The non-linear narrative cuts back to three weeks earlier where we are introduced to a pair of contract killers hired by Mr Franklin. This hit is taken out in a convoluted manner that also involves Margot Robbie in many different outfits and locations. The story then cuts between these two locations and stories until the climax when they merge. It is clunky and boring, it doesn’t flow in any way, and it makes you want to get up and leave it alone.

The conclusion can be guessed within the first 10 or 15 minutes yet still delivers a massive twist that is patently obvious from the prior 90 minutes, which manages to make it even more insufferable. It loses all subtly and any remanents of intelligence that it had left over.

You must wonder what was going through the team’s minds when they were making this? Did they decide to watch Pulp Fiction and other gloriously stylised indie movies while necking the contents of a glow stick? It really does seem entirely likely. The effects of the neon liquid still hadn’t left their system by the time it came to put pen to paper as nobody seems to understand what human behaviour or how to write interesting crazy characters. We must spare a thought for the actors who thought it would be a good idea to be in it. Mike Myers, of all people, decided he should come out of retirement and reignite his film career based on this script?

The film had promise but descends into more of a desperate grab for attention. It is loud, bright and harsh; and I do not only refer to the visual style of this neon wonderland. I hate to say it, but it’s a complete failure on all levels. I suggest stopping at the next station.

Terminal will be getting a very small theatrical release (under 25 locations) on 6th July in the UK.

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