Terminal: A review
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Overall, it is an provocative, if problematic, film. In the vein of most of my film-related reviews, here’s a list of what I liked, and didn’t like:
I am a sucker for neon and saturated colors. So the noir feel coupled with the harsh lights and vast array of colors worked for me. It gave the whole film a graphic novel aesthetic that added to its general air of a city out of place, time, and government control.
The erratic nature of the narrative was fun. I’m always a fan of films that trust their audience to follow a broken trail and gather the breadcrumbs they pass along the way. The copious references to Alice in Wonderland (often simply verbatim readings from the book itself) set up for the various instances of hard left turns in the plot and the places where it looped back on itself.
Surprise Neville made me chuckle. (Also, sorry Matthew Lewis…. Someday I’ll think of your real name first.)
As usual, Margot Robbie’s performance was marvelous. I find myself wondering if she seeks out the deranged characters or if casting directors know she can do the crazy-face with precision.
The cast of this film is small, the bulk of the screen time only involving the five principle actors. The tertiary characters are, in bulk female characters, but they are, as a whole the generic, nameless, sexualized background noise that is so common it’s boring at this point. There is not a single female character (that I saw) who is not, at some point stripped down to her knickers.
One of the main setting elements is a great big hole that is billed as a ventilation shaft. It’s used as a murder garbage chute for fun. And at the end, I was disappointed by the lack of a “where are the bodies?” reveal.
< Trigger Warning >
Beautiful, seemingly innocent women who are actually remorseless killers are honestly scarrier (on a reality level) than the lumbering machete wielding horror-flick staple. That being said, the motivation for Annie’s character (and her sister’s), that of the psychotic, damaged-as-a-child character bothers me. Because when the character is a woman, male screenwriters always rape her. And regardless of the fact that we live in a world where 1 in 6 women in the US are raped in their lifetime, its prevalence in fiction only adds to that culture. Whether or not the crime occurs “on screen” or the woman gets her revenge, it comes across as a necessary--and expected--requirement for a female character to be capable of the same violence men are.
As I said, problematic, but we still live in a world where so few movies lack similar problems.
Honest belief: This could have been a beautiful, all-female cast film, with a villain who turned out to be the “girls” mother who faked her death, abandoning them to run her little criminal enterprise. A pair of hit women looking to seal their big contract. A one-time-nun who was abusive AF to the children in her care….