The Station Agent

"Very Good"

The Station Agent 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.



The Station Agent

Facts and Figures

Run time: 89 mins

In Theaters: Friday 5th December 2003

Box Office USA: $5.5M

Box Office Worldwide: $8.7M

Budget: $500 thousand

Distributed by: Miramax Films

Production compaines: Miramax Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 95%
Fresh: 145 Rotten: 8

IMDB: 7.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Finbar McBride, as Olivia Harris, as Joe Oramas, as Emily, as Cleo (neighbor girl), as Carl, as David, as Chris, as Danny (as Joe Lotruglio), as Henry Styles, Jase Blankfort as Store Customer, as Cashier (Paula Garces), as Louis Tiboni, as Patty at the Good to Go, Marla Sucharetza as Janice

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

The latest adaptation of Agatha Christie's 83-year-old classic whodunit, this lavish, star-studded film is old-style...

Paddington 2 Movie Review

Paddington 2 Movie Review

The first Paddington movie in 2014 is already such a beloved classic that it's hard...

A Bad Moms Christmas Movie Review

A Bad Moms Christmas Movie Review

Everyone's back from last year's undemanding adult comedy, plus some starry new cast members, for...

Brawl in Cell Block 99 Movie Review

Brawl in Cell Block 99 Movie Review

Filmmaker S. Craig Zahler brought a blast of offbeat creativity to the Western genre two...

The Death of Stalin Movie Review

The Death of Stalin Movie Review

Fans of the film In the Loop and the TV series Veep will definitely not...

Call Me By Your Name Movie Review

Call Me By Your Name Movie Review

Set in northern Italy in the summer of 1983, this internationally flavoured drama is a...

Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

The most riotously enjoyable Marvel movie yet, this action epic benefits hugely from the decision...

Advertisement
Breathe Movie Review

Breathe Movie Review

While this biopic has the standard sumptuous production values of a British period drama, it's...

The Snowman Movie Review

The Snowman Movie Review

With a cast and crew packed with A-list talent, this film seems like it should...

The Party Movie Review

The Party Movie Review

Comedies don't get much darker than this pitch-black British movie, written and directed by Sally...

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) is on his way to becoming the new Woody Allen, which...

6 Below Movie Review

6 Below Movie Review

Based on an astonishing true survival story, this film is subtitled "Miracle on the Mountain",...

Mother Movie Review

Mother Movie Review

Darren Aronofsky doesn't make fluffy movies, and has only had one genuine misfire (2014's Noah)....

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

It's been 35 years since Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, which was set in 2019....

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.