The year is fast running down folks. With less than five weeks left, I could still use any more suggestions any of you have for flicks you want me to see. Feel free to drop a comment on the Suggestions page (the link is up there ↑) and you can check what I’ve already covered on the A-Z. Thank you kindly. And now, let’s take a train…
Don’t sleep on train tracks.
Fin McBride loves trains. He works in a hobby shop in Hoboken, New Jersey with his only friend Henry. Because of the ridicule he has always endured due to his dwarfism, Fin has shut himself off from the rest of the world. When Henry suddenly dies and the shop is to be closed, Fin moves away to live as a hermit in an old railway depot he has inherited. Unfortunately, the people he meets seem determined to make him a part of their lives.
Released in 2003, The Station Agent was Peter Dinklage’s breakout role after years on the stage and small parts in indie flicks. After watching this, his career since comes as absolutely no surprise whatsoever. One of the most naturalistic performances I have seen in a long time, Dinklage is perfect as the taciturn, sarcastic and lonely Fin. With him on board, the film was never going to fail, but it wouldn’t be quite as good without the other two central actors, Bobby Cannavale as the relentlessly upbeat Joe and Patricia Clarkson as the grieving artist Olivia. Dinklage got most of the plaudits, but all three are award-worthy performances.
The film was written and directed by Thomas McCarthy, probably best known outside the New York theatre world for his role as the “morally challenged” reporter Scott Templeton in The Wire’s fifth season. McCarthy, who was Oscar-nominated for his screenplay for Pixar’s Up, mines a rich vein of warmth and humour with sure footing, never resorting to any cutesy stereotypes. Unlike a lot of low-budget filmmakers, he also appreciates silence. There are entire passages of the film without dialogue, just the characters going about their lives. It is to McCarthy’s and his actors’ credit that these silences never feel forced or uncomfortable, while the mood is certainly helped by Stephen Trask’s gentle, guitar-based score.
I was never particularly enamoured with the idea before, but this film makes me want to watch Game of Thrones, just for more Dinklage. Although I hear it has boobs too.