Starring: Peter Dinklage, Patricia Clarkson and Bobby Cannavale
Director: and written by Thomas McCarthy
THE Station Agent is a softly articulate and beautifully acted film.
It is a wonderful musing on loneliness and friendship. And, in moments, it is hilarious.
If you don’t manage to make it to the end of this review, keep this summary in mind: Go and see this film.
Fin McBride (Peter Dinklage) is a loner. Fin doesn’t seem to fit in the world, probably because he is four feet, five inches tall. Fin struggles to maintain his dwarfish dignity in the face of a mean, gawking, much taller world by keeping himself apart from it.
When Fin’s boss leaves him an abandoned railroad agent’s outbuilding, Fin takes his solitude to a remote, railside town in rural New Jersey.
Fin’s quiet resolve and sad determination breathe almost audibly in the margins of the film’s sparse dialogue. Sparse, until Joe Oramas (Bobby Cannavale) arrives on screen selling hot dogs and cafe con leche from his food truck parked near Fin’s new home.
In Joe Oramas, Cannavale renders poignantly and comically another kind of loneliness, the kind that babbles on nervously as if words might fill the void. Joe’s blend of open-mouthed wonder and almost painful neediness is captivating.
Already an unlikely pair, Fin and Joe befriend Olivia Harris (Patricia Clarkson) who has abandoned the world that took her child. Awkwardly and humorously, these three endeavour to peek over the walls that each has erected around himself, to perhaps find a way out of their own despair.
In his directorial debut, Thomas McCarthy demonstrates great skills in applied restraint, the use of quiet and careful character study.
As Hollywood seems presently to welcome none of these talents, I wish McCarthy great luck in finding his next project.
Fin isn’t above a demonstrative curse, and the film is replete with adult situations. But the body count is zero, and this includes nude ones.