Main cast: Margot Robbie (Annie), Simon Pegg (Bill), Dexter Fletcher (Vince), Max Irons (Alfred), Nick Moran (Illing), and Mike Myers (The Janitor)
Director: Vaughn Stein
Terminal is all about showing Margot Robbie off in the best lighting and angles. That’s perfectly fine had this been a coffee table book, but as a movie, this one is more style than substance.
This is one of those movies that try very hard to be all slick and arty through the use of apparently random scenes that will, of course, eventually converge into a dramatic denouement. We have a waitress Annie who first approaches a mysterious Mr Franklin and asks to be hired as his exclusive contract assassin if she could prove her worth by removing her competition: the other assassins already contracted by that man. We then see her talking to Bill, a terminally ill English teacher, and they two then go into great lengths about how he should best commit suicide. Then, we have Alfred and Vince, two bickering assassins who receive a mysterious instruction through Annie, who now is revealed to also moonlight as a stripper, to wait in an apartment for further orders.
Now, this movie is gorgeous to look at, although people who are epileptic should be aware that there are quite a number of scenes here with flashing bright lights. The whole thing is like a neon billboard lit up during New Year’s Eve, and Ms Robbie struts around and poses like she’s worth a billion dollars. The whole setup is intriguing too during its first third or so, with its Quentin Tarantino-meets-Blade Runner noir vibes, and I find myself wanting to know what will happen next.
My interest soon peters out, though, as these characters end up being way too talky for their own good. It’s not interesting banter – everyone comes off as pretentious twats trying way too hard to pass off tired, clichéd lines as something deep and profound. Annie’s ability to be everywhere and anywhere without encountering any difficulties becomes increasingly preposterous as the minutes tick by, and the “dramatic” end scene has me rolling up my eyes.
Terminal is a painless movie to watch, as it’s slick and stylish enough to be background eye candy, but don’t expect it to make much sense at the end of the day. It’s just a silly thing that wants very hard to be seen as a hipster kind of awesome, to the point that it tries very hard in all the wrong places. The script should have been brighter, tighter, and someone should have been hired to doctor the script to makes the glib, sarcastic one-liners more like a natural extension of the characters’ personalities rather than the works of someone who really, really, really wants to be seen as a cool kid. Sure, give it a watch if you come across it, especially if you like looking at Margot Robbie posing and posturing on the screen, but keep your expectations low to minimize disappointments that may arise.