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Station Agent, The

Reviewed By Mark Rodger-Snelson
Posted 10/31/04 15:30:10

"A simple yet beautiful and touching little masterpiece"
4 stars (Worth A Look)

The Station Agent is a unique and touching movie experience with themes of isolation and unlikely friendships. It is centred around Fin (Peter Dinklage), a trainspotting dwarf who prefers nothing more than to be left alone. So when he inherits a disused railway station in rural New Jersey after his only friend (and boss) dies, it is not a difficult decision to pack up and leave his hometown of New York.

With no neighbours for miles and plenty of opportunity to pursue his hobby, his new found home seems perfect. That is, until a couple of residents decide to impose themselves upon his seclusion. He soon discovers he has a neighbour by day Joe (Bobby Cannavale), who runs a food van by the road outside Finís place. Joe is a Cuban who is also from New York and is temporarily running his fatherís business as he is currently out of action due to illness. He craves conversation and companionship making him the complete opposite to Fin. Much to Finís discontent, Joe refuses to acknowledge Finís desire to be alone and is relentless in his attempts to become Finís buddy. The second person to invade Finís privacy is Olivia (Patricia Clarkson), a recently separated artist still grieving after the death of her son. They meet after she nearly runs over Fin and she visits him later to apologise. Eventually Olivia and Joe break down the barriers that Fin has built up around him and the trio form a heart warming friendship. Although tragedy, loneliness and sadness fill their lives there is also plenty of humour to be had mainly through Joeís simple yet big hearted and positive outlook on life.

Written and directed by actor Thomas McCarthy, The Station Agent has been made with a remarkable amount of confidence for a debut. It is a dialogue driven film that has won many awards and nominations for its screenplay as well as taking out the Sundance audience award. Beautifully shot by Oliver Bokelberg many scenes, although stark in their content, resemble photographs worthy of being hung in a gallery. The acting is spot on from the three leads, each of them giving believable and emotive performances with Peter Linkage proving he has what it takes to carry a lead role.

The Station Agent is about three characters from three completely different worlds who manage to forge a strong friendship despite their diversity. It shares quite similar themes to Lost in Translation but received far less attention and only received a limited cinema release in Australia. It is a beautiful, touching little masterpiece and is a must see for lovers of independent film.

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