Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Review of The Station Agent

I saw one of the best films this weekend. The Station Agent. is the story of Fin (Peter Dinklage)a dwarf (is that term still proper) who moves to an old rundown train station in Newfoundland, New Jersey after he inherits it. He meets Joe (Bobby Cannavele) who works the food stand across that station and Olivia (Patricia Clarkson) an artist living in seclusion, trying to escape the memory of her dead son. The three of them form a friendship, much of the film revolves around Fin's love of trains, his past time being trainspotting and about the way he is treated by others. He is so used to hearing people sniggering and laughing at him in the background that it does not seem to matter. He also just wants to lead a quiet life without much contact with others, and he finds that hard to do as well. What I found is great about this film is that it does not treat Fin as a victim or dwells on his size. Its a part of who he is, but that is not what the story is about. And if the premise sounds corny on paper, it is executed brilliantly. The dialogue between characters is realistic and humorous and the situations that the characters are put in never seem contrived. At the heart of the film is the friendship between the three main leads, each of whom is hurt in their own way. They gravitate towards each other, sharing quiet moments, and learning from each other. We as the audience observe the friendship develop with a smile on our face throughout. The performances are flawless, Dinklage is quiet commanding, you cannot help but look at him whenever he is on screen. In a couple of scenes he is required to lose control of his emotions, and his rage comes as quiet surprising whenever he does. And although he is the focal point of the picture, it would not work without the great turns of Clarkson and (especially) Cannavele. Joe sees Fin for who he is, and does not judge him, he also spots a kindered spirit. Cannavele portrays this aspect of his character in a very subtle way, and it balances out the more brash (and comedic) aspects of his character. In the end, the film makes us think about friendship and loneliness and how each afffects our life. A film that makes you think, how brilliant is that


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