Yes, you read that correctly: zero stars. When talented people create one of the worst movies ever made, you have to ask: What the hell happened? Terminal is a case in point. Here’s another question: How did debuting filmmaker Vaughn Stein ever persuade Margot Robbie, just off her Oscar-nominated triumph in I, Tonya, to star in a script that plays like something Quentin Tarantino upchucked after watching Blade Runner while reading Alice in Wonderland and ingesting too many hallucinogens?
Set in an anonymous city that looks and feels like the soundstage it is, Terminal introduces us to Annie (Robbie), a waitress at a railway diner called End of the Line. If you think that sounds pretentious, just you wait. Annie moonlights as a stripper, as well as anything else that will entrap the men who fall into her web. Simon Pegg shows up as a suicidal professor looking for a train to throw himself under. (We sympathize.) And did we mention Mike Myers shows up as a station janitor who likes whistling “Danny Boy.” Myers came out of a seven-year film hiatus for this?! No, no, no.
The plot, such as it is, involves the unseen
boss-man who puts hits out on people. His two current assassins of choice
are Vince (Dexter Fletcher) and Alfred (Max Irons), who banter like John
Travolta and Samuel J. Jackson in Pulp Fiction but without a semblance of their
style and wit. Though precious little achieves
clarity in this purported film noir, it won’t be hard to figure that Annie is
seducing the doltish Alfred for a reason. Rewatch The Usual Suspects is you
want clues. Or seriously, watch anything but this misbegotten attempt to pass two hours by
stealing from other, better filmmakers.
As one of the producers, Robbie deserves credit for taking a chance on new talent. But Stein, an assistant
director on World War Z and TV’s Elementary, has created a lifeless vacuum of a
movie. There isn’t a single spark of originality in this whole pointless
exercise in neon-lit nilhilism. After 90 excruciating minutes, you may
want to join Pegg’s character in wanting to end it all – or at least wanting it
all to bloody fucking end.