I have just watched a really enthralling film. It captivated me and kept my eyes dancing around the screen the whole way through. It was, for me, interesting and arresting.
The reason for sharing this somewhat selfish point is not necessarily to share such a view, but to explain the context in which this film was watched, the surprise at being captivated and the finale of self-doubt and ultimate rememberance.
As like many, I was looking for something to entertain me of an early evening, skipping through the various catch-up apps and streaming services waiting for something to grab my attention.
Eventually, and we all know this feeling, of settling for something that we’ve not heard of, looks a bit erm, not sure but in realisation of little else, acceptance and perhaps defeat.
A neo-noir film called Terminal interested me. I have a dark sense of humour, I like dark things. The idea and perception of murder for no reason other than murder, it interests me. In a theatrical way, of course. I am not Mr Brooks.*
But exactly that, films like Mr Brooks interest me. The cinematography of The Crow keeps me returning to Alex Proyas’ epic time and time again. Sin City, don’t even get me started. Mulholland Drive… Mr Lynch is still to cough up the bill from my psychiatrist.
So I chose to give Terminal a go. I had never heard of it before, and have since learned its release was limited and not the film that was really ever going to get the box office’s phones in a tangle.
I enjoyed the film. I enjoyed the way it was shot, I enjoyed the plot, I loved the dialogue between Bill and Annie in the cafe: a self-confessed lover of death versus a fastidious former English teacher, riffing off words and meanings. I enjoyed the London accents and gangster element: the hapless duo trying to do one another in, providing a little comedy in the ever-darkening story. An In Bruges element, so to speak.
Margot Robbie was simply delicious as the femme fatale, Simon Pegg playing an equally excellent fall guy who contrasted well with Robbie. And who knew Mike Myers still had a Dr Evil in him, albeit a more straight and sinister version.
Of course, from the start it was fairly obvious who the real characters were, what the twist was going to be. Admittedly it did end a little different to expected, but not so far from what was in my mind that I was blown away. Because blown away I was not. But happy I watched it, I was.
As the credits were rolling I decided, as I tend to do, to read the Wiki article. Don’t ask, it’s just something I like to do.
Generally speaking the film has been panned by critics.
An entirely empty exercise in dated, exhausting hyper-stylized filmmaking. Clint Worthington, Consequence Of Sound
A turgid, pretentious, and incomprehensible existential joke. Rex Reed, New York Observer
Vaughn Stein’s Terminal takes a mess of dead tropes and Frankensteins them together into an crime saga that’s in desperate need of brains. And a soul. And a story. David Ehrlich, IndieWire
As a non-aficionado of the big screen, it is hard for me to tell if its limited release is a result of the lack of confidence and poor reviews, or if indeed, it is vice versa.
But this leads me to one phrase.
I just don’t give a fuck.
I kinda wish I hadn’t read the reviews. It’s probably a bad habit I have of wanting to learn and expand my knowledge. As soon as a film is over, I want to understand. Did Stephen Hawking’s nurse really take a shine to him? Did Tom Cruise really do that stunt on the motorbike?
I thoroughly enjoyed Terminal. It isn’t the best of its genre, there were some tedious moments. But overall, it is a film perhaps not many have noticed, but one I would be happy to recommend. And so I am.