In a sense, ‘Terminal’ has everything. It has Margot Robbie, playing a witty and wildly vengeful femme fatale. There’s weird philosophising from Simon Pegg as a dying English professor. There are even literary allusions: its duo of hitmen (Max Irons and Dexter Fletcher) read Lewis Carroll. And yes, that is Mike Myers coated in a prosthetics job so heavy it could put a lamp post on the cover of Vogue. Combined, they make ‘Terminal’ a genuine oddity: mostly nonsensical but potentially the basis of a solid drinking game. If you take a slug every time you see a blinking neon sign, you’ll be on dialysis after ten minutes.
Director Vaughn Stein rinses this dystopian, nocturnal world in retro Americana and East End gangster tropes. Robbie plays a waitress in an eerie all-night café (cue cringeworthy innuendo on the phrase ‘sticky buns’) who tries to goad the professor, her only customer, into offing himself.
The action creeps along in a series of stagey scenes that feel like a prolonged experiment in finding the most ridiculous phrase a Hollywood actor can utter with a straight face (my winner: ‘Death is by far the best bit of life!’). All pretense of sanity goes out the window in a climax that brings things to the boil in a pile-up of more Lewis Carroll references, daddy issues and some truly silly twists. Utter nonsense, then, but served with a Cheshire cat smirk.