The Station Agent Movie 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.

Comments

The Station Agent Rating

" Good "

Rating: R, 2003

Advertisement

More Peter Dinklage

Primetime Emmy Awards 2014 -Breaking Bad Predictably Dominates Drama

The Primetime Emmy Awards were held on Monday evening (25th August) in Los Angeles and there was stiff competition in every category although the results...

Croatian Church Allegedly Blocks 'Game Of Thrones' Filming Cersei's Naked Walk

Lena Headey has been nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series at the 2014 Primetime Emmy Awards for her role as Cersei Lannister...

Usual Suspects: Breaking Bad, True Detective, GoT, Mad Men, to Duke it Out For Emmy Wins

A superb year for television has seen the Emmy nominations announced without fanfare, glee or wonder. Dominating viewing figures, review inches and memes were Breaking...

What Can We Expect From The 'Game Of Thrones' Season 4 Finale?

[MAJOR SPOILERS ALERT!]So, Game of Thrones fans, what do you think - is it possible to outdo the utter mastery that was the penultimate episode...

Advertisement

Brace Yourselves For The "Game of Thrones" Season Finale - The Writers Are Finishing Strong This Year

The fourth season of Game of Thrones has ignited a lot of controversy, which on a show all about sex, murder and little bit of...

"Game Of Thrones" Topples "The Sopranos" As HBO's Most Watched Show

In the game of thrones you win or you die. Well, HBO’s newest hit series is winning everything these days. Game of Thrones has been...

"Game Of Thrones" Recap: "The Mountain And The Viper" And A Whole World Of NO

Game of Thrones, it’s been too long. But here we are, on the other side of The Mountain and the Viper and Tyrion’s trial by...

What Happened To 'The Angriest Man In Brooklyn'?

It had the promise to be a supremely enjoyable farcical comedy, yet The Angriest Man In Brooklyn has positively bombed across the board, receiving a...

Advertisement