starring Tom Hanks, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Stanley Tucci, Chi McBride
screenplay by Sacha Gervasi and Jeff Nathanson
directed by Steven Spielberg
by Walter Chaw Early in the latest Steven Spielberg-Tom Hanks collaboration The Terminal, Russian splinter exile Viktor Navorski (Hanks) runs up a staircase, throwing his suitcase onto the "up" escalator as he goes so that his baggage, in essence, is left to finish its journey on its own. It's a lovely, complicated visual metaphor for abandonment or freedom, for Spielberg the scenarist's twin obsessions with the idea of little boys lost and of little boys escaping and for Spielberg the director's inability to take responsibility for his subtext so that he might finally make that mature film he's so desperately wanted to since The Color Purple. But The Terminal is film-festival offensive, encouraging its audience to coo over the adorable antics of its madcap cast of society's blue-collar "invisibles" (playing in this respect like the slick, imminently forgettable version of Stephen Frears's working class morality play Dirty Pretty Things) in a way that isn't sympathetic so much as paternalistic. Foreigners and minorities are resourceful children, operating eternally at the mercy of the dominant majority, and Neverland is the big cities of the United States, where grown-ups have families and problems.