Projections - Movie Reviews

The Station Agent

This year's Audience Award winner at Sundance, The Station Agent is a small wonder of independent film making from writer-director Tom McCarthy.  His screenplay creates a quirky ambiance for three very different individuals.  He subtly uses isolation, desperation, and tragedy from a rural New Jersey warmly photographed that actors Patricia Clarkson, Peter Dinklage, and Bobby Cannavale engage with much depth.

This sweet, affecting portrayal has a dwarf in Dinklage's Finbar McBride who's been mocked into a sort of pariah.  He has lived introvertedly for the most part and after the passing of his only friend and business partner leaves him an empty train depot where he can exist in peace.

But Cannavale's gregarious Joe, who runs a vending truck, and Clarkson's painter Olivia keep him from an expected, quiet, secluded existence.  Joe's dad is ill at home and his mundane life leads to an encounter which shakes up the four foot, five inch man, to say the least.  Olivia doesn't see Finbar with her SUV, just avoiding being run over.  These odd happenings forge an unusual friendship, as McCarthy allows his thespians to capture the need for affection and the need to reject it.

Olivia has torment from the loss of her young son and distance from her husband during the grieving process.  Clarkson and Dinklage connect in ways that comedically connect the verve that Cannavale brings to the equation that establishes a strong human equilibrium.  Finbar's simplistic speech, along with his immense enjoyment of trains takes The Station Agent on "the right of way" with much assistance from Olivia and Joe as the trio become train chasers.

McCarthy's richly intimate portrayal finds truth and complexity in emotion and companionship with genuine wit coming in small doses as there is an integrity with a new living condition that speaks volumes in such a gently way.

 
Frank
Chris
Tony
Jim
Howard
Jennifer
Kathleen
Avg.
The Station Agent
 
 
 
B+
 
 
 
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