Margot Robbie finds herself in what starts out as two different stories that slowly merge into one in this visually striking neo-noir from Vaughn Stein.
Bill is an elementary school teacher who has been diagnosed with cancer. Instead of waiting for the slow, excruciating pain, he intends to find a way to end it all quickly. A tip from a train janitor leads him to the End of the Line diner located near the terminal. There, he meets Annie, a waitress who listens to his story and offers to somehow help him deal with his pain.
Meanwhile, upstart hitman Alfred and his mentor Vince have accepted a job offer from a mysterious man, Mr. Franklin. However, as they await a call to carry out the hit, tensions between Vince and Alfred slowly begin to rise. When the duo meet Annie, who aside from waitressing, also works as a dancer at a local club, she begins to fall for Alfred much to Vince’s chagrin. When Annie decides to help both Bill and Alfred deal with their issues, they soon will realize that Annie may have ulterior motives to helping them.
Influenced by perhaps the likes of Terry Gillam and Quentin Tarentino, Vaughn Stein wrote and directed this interesting take of the neo-noir genre that does bode well in terms of its visuals. Bright lights and shadiness works well for this genre. The only thing is that the plot, which seems to involve two separate stories with a connection, will truly confuse viewers at first view. And that can lead to one of two results. One is it might want to make viewers see the film again to understand the film. Or two, they will just say forget it and not watch the movie again. In other words, the story proves to be a double-edged sword.
However, the driving force of the film is the connection between the two stories and that is Margot Robbie, who also is one of the film’s producers. Where some neo-noir films tend to lack a “femme fatale”, Robbie proves herself in the film as perhaps the ultimate femme fatale. She is seen in the opening scene as Bonnie, a contract killer. However, it is her turn as Annie that proves to be the true poison. She proves herself to be very thoughtful and a good listener when it comes to listening to Bill’s problem and yet proves herself to have a Yoko Ono-inspiration when she plays upstart Alfred against Vince.
Simon Pegg does wonders as Bill, the teacher who has terminal cancer, a double play on the film’s title, who struggles to end his life but doesn’t know how to do it. Dexter Fletcher and Max Irons do quite well as the bickering hitmen who await orders with the latter having some sort of romance with Robbie’s Annie, who looks like to make ends meet is both a waitress and a dancer. Mike Myers brings quite an interesting performance as the janitor at the terminal, with some great aging make up to boot to make him look like an elderly man.
And while Robbie is the connection for both stories, it does seem a bit confusing for most of the film and that could pose a bit of an issue. However, it is around the 55-minute mark of this 95-minute film that things not only pick up, but reveal some very twists that at first, will both shock and bring a sense of familiarity in the genre. The biggest shocker of a twist comes in the final 20 minutes of the film, where everything is revealed and told in a lengthy epilogue of sorts that will either have your jaw drop or want to throw something at the screen. Again, a double-edged sword.
In the end, despite some great performances from the cast, Terminal suffers from what can be best described as a “double edged sword” of a story. There are some great moments within the twist reveals, but with the film slowly dragging and a final reveal that proves to be both shocking in terms of a “what the heck” kind of deal, it ultimately is the viewer’s call whether they want to give this a second view. The film is without a doubt, visually striking, but tends to be more “double-edged”.
WFG RATING: C
RLJE Films presents a Highland Film Group production of a Beagle Pug Film in association with Hassell Free Productions, LuckyChap Entertainment, Miscellaneous Entertainment, Proton Cinema, RuYi Media, and Subotica Entertainment. Director: Vaughn Stein. Producers: David Barron, Margot Robbie, Tom Ackerley, Arianne Fraser, Molly Hassell, Teun Hilte, and Josey McNamara. Writer: Vaughn Stein. Cinematography: Christopher Ross. Editing: Johannes Beck and Alex Marquez.
Cast: Margot Robbie, Simon Pegg, Dexter Fletcher, Max Irons, Mike Myers, Matthew Lewis, Katrina Cas, Nick Moran, Thomas Turgoose, Jourdan Dunn, Paul Reynolds.