VOD film review: Terminal
Josh Slater-Williams | On 12, Aug 2018Reading time: 2 mins
Director: Vaughn Stein
Cast: Margot Robbie, Simon Pegg, Dexter Fletcher, Max Irons, Mike Myers
Watch Terminal online in the UK: Amazon Prime / iTunes / Prime Video (Buy/Rent) / TalkTalk TV / Virgin Movies / eir Vision Movies / Rakuten TV / Google Play / Sky Store
One of the funnier personality types in a good comedy is an incredibly stupid character who thinks they’re incredibly smart. On the other hand, one of the most unbearable types of film to sit through is one where a projection of wily intelligence proves to be masking a dunderheaded vacuum. On that note, here’s a review of Terminal.
Terminal isn’t a comedy, but so many of its try-hard attempts at hard-boiled banter are clearly designed to evoke a particular kind of wit – in this case, that found in certain examples of (ahem) pulp fiction. Terminal’s overall feel is very much in the vein of the wave of Tarantino-apeing crime dramas from the late 90s to early naughts, in which shady figures repeatedly double-crossed one another in increasingly convoluted ways, all while never shutting the hell up. Since Terminal’s story of two assassins is largely made up of British talent alongside Australian and Canadian stars doing British accents), it’s even more in line with the wave of Guy Ritchie-apeing Britflicks from that era – an even dodgier prospect when you consider the quality of the majority of that lot. The presence of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels stars Dexter Fletcher and Nick Moran only serves to hammer home that comparison, although Terminal’s penchant for both labyrinthine storytelling and admittedly striking neon lighting most brings to mind Ritchie’s Revolver. This is not a compliment.
You may notice a shying away from much discussion of what Terminal’s plot actually entails, but this is because writer-director Vaughn Stein’s narrative is concerned only with how its twisting threads tie together, regardless of whether or not there’s any reason for audience investment. That said, to warn those of a sensitive disposition when it comes to being fed filmic dung, Terminal is the sort of movie that uses subjects such as sexual assault for shock-reveal plot-dressing, and where an obsession with Alice in Wonderland motifs is treated like something resembling a theme. There’s also a vaguely dystopian sci-fi feel to the largely interior sets and the little insights we get into the film’s wider world, but its purpose comes across as a way of aesthetically justifying not hiring extras for scenes set in public spaces. The lighting crew on this film come off well; no one else behind or in front of the camera does.
Terminal is available to watch online on Amazon Prime Video as part of a £5.99 monthly subscription.