The Station Agent

"Good"

The Station Agent Review


Meet Finbar McBride. Besides having a cool name, Finbar's (Peter Dinklage) most noticeable attribute is that he is a dwarf who stands about 4-foot-5. And he's bitter about this. As a result, he is a laconic fellow who keeps to himself and has no friends. But he does have a passion for trains. One day Fin's work colleague dies and leaves him a train depot in New Jersey as an inheritance. Fin - who apparently has nothing else to do in his life - packs up his suitcase, walks many miles (on the train tracks) into New Jersey, and sets up his new home inside the run-down depot.

Right from the beginning we are brought into the leisurely pace of Fin's ascetic life. He doesn't eat or drink much, he spends his days studying old trains or reading about them, and he walks almost everywhere because he can't drive and he doesn't like crowded buses or trains. And it's pretty obvious why; every time he gets around people they stare at him and make comments.

One day after arriving Fin is greeted by Joe (Bobby Cannavale) a good-spirited Cuban-American who owns a very out-of-the-way hotdog stand that is near the depot. Joe is eager for attention so he coaxes, prods and pries into Fin's life but Fin won't talk. Enter Olivia (Patricia Clarkson) an eccentric local woman who befriends Joe and Fin and spices things up a bit - not by being sexy or anything but by being batty enough to make everyone feel at ease.

What plot there is of The Station Agent is somewhat obvious, and the film doesn't go anywhere you don't expect. But as a character-driven drama/comedy it is so well directed, written, and acted that it ends up feeling more original and fresh than it is. Part of the reason is because the film doesn't beat you over the head; the audience is allowed the time to observe the actors and the conflicts that slowly unfold.

The film - written and directed by first time film director Tom McCarthy - is sprinkled with other character actors including a young black girl (Raven Goodwin) who inquisitively pops up every so often and a local librarian (Michelle Williams) who has a girl-next-door appeal and who finds herself attracted to Fin. The most enjoyable performance of the whole bunch is Cannavale whose hotdog stand owner is as awkward and chatty as he is endearing and funny.

Essentially each of the characters is a loner but with distinct characteristics; Fin is bitter about life, Joe is upbeat despite personal setbacks, and Olivia is confused since the death of her son. Yet none of them know how to reach out for help. Throughout the film these three very different personalities find a way to connect and make room for each other in their lonely lives. It's the kind of film that wins the hearts and minds of discerning audiences. And -- by the way -- it won the Audience Award at this year's Sundance Film Festival.

The DVD includes commentary from McCarthy and a handful of very abbreviated deleted scenes. Worth a look, even if the extras are thin.

High in station.



The Station Agent

Facts and Figures

Run time: 89 mins

In Theaters: Friday 5th December 2003

Box Office USA: $5.5M

Box Office Worldwide: $8.7M

Budget: $500 thousand

Distributed by: Miramax Films

Production compaines: Miramax Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 95%
Fresh: 145 Rotten: 8

IMDB: 7.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Finbar McBride, as Olivia Harris, as Joe Oramas, as Emily, as Cleo (neighbor girl), as Carl, as David, as Chris, as Danny (as Joe Lotruglio), as Henry Styles, Jase Blankfort as Store Customer, as Cashier (Paula Garces), as Louis Tiboni, as Patty at the Good to Go, Marla Sucharetza as Janice


Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation Movie Review

Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation Movie Review

Writer-director Christopher McQuarrie brings a dark and gritty tone to this larger-than-life franchise. Along with...

Beyond the Reach Movie Review

Beyond the Reach Movie Review

With a spectacular setting and two solid actors on-screen, this thriller builds enough solid suspense...

Cub Movie Review

Cub Movie Review

At a time when horror movies seem to only want to make the audience jump,...

Inside Out Movie Review

Inside Out Movie Review

Those bright sparks at Pixar have done it again, taking a fiercely original approach to...

Advertisement
Southpaw Movie Review

Southpaw Movie Review

Slick direction and meaty performances may be enough for some viewers, but this boxing drama's...

Eden Movie Review

Eden Movie Review

Loose and impressionistic, this beautifully shot film traces the career of a DJ who pioneered...

The Gallows Movie Review

The Gallows Movie Review

Without a single moment of originality, this found-footage horror movie really deserves to be the...

Self/Less Movie Review

Self/Less Movie Review

An intriguing premise keeps the audience gripped for about 20 minutes before the movie runs...

Advertisement