Station Agent

THE STATION AGENT. 2003

Director & Writer: Thomas McCarthy

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl



What an amazing film of character. I loved all the characters. Flawless performances from the three main players. I wish the characters they played really existed & I could hang with them.

Peter Dinklage plays Finbar, a train afficionado whose best & probably only friend Paul (Henry Styles as the owner of a model train hobby store) drops dead, having bequeathed to Finbar an actujal train station in a small New England town.

The introspective & alone Fin sets out for the village & moves into the tiny train agent's shack, where his desire for solitude is interrupted by Joe (Bobby Cannavale) who has set up a lunchcart outside the train station & is from Fin's point of view positively gruesome in his friendlness; & by grief-stricken Oliva (Patricia Clarkson) who has lost a child & apparently finds some slight solace in the undemanding friendship of a would-be recluse like Fin.

There are additional human portraits who provide touching or sorrowful or amusing moments -- an abused young woman who gets a crush on Fin, a chubby child with a child's curiosity about the little-person who moved into the train agent's station, ever performance a shining gem. But it is mainly about how Fin reluctantly comes to accept the friendship of two fellow loners, how they interact & come to love one another, infusing the film with heart. In less skilled hands it would have been sentimental twaddle, or a turd for the PAX channel, but what it is instead is a profound, humane, beautiful, mesmerising tale, one of the best films I've ever seen.

With America's formerly greatest film directors either dead (John Huston) or having so sold out to Hollywood that all they can make anymore is boring over-toasted epics (Martin Scorsesee), we really need a modern film genius, & if Thomas McCarthy can produce of film of this greatness on his first try, perhaps he's the guy. Alas, as of 2005, the producers seem not to have been lining up around the block to produce McCarthy's second film. It's sad to think he might have to promise shoot-outs with vampires or car chases, forgoing intelligence, in order to have a directorial career.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl



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