Movie Review – The Station Agent (2003)

Director: Thomas McCarthy

Stars: Peter Dinklage, Bobby Cannavale, Patricia Clarkson, Michelle Williams, Raven Goodwin

After the death of his friend, Fin (Dinklage) moves to a remote depot where he’s utterly alone except for a neighbour who runs a hot dog stand (Cannavale) and a troubled artist (Clarkson), the two of which disrupt his solitude.

The Station Agent starts off as an offbeat comedy, moves into tragedy and ultimately is a film about life. It began quite slowly but by the end I was disappointed when it ended because it’s the kind of film that doesn’t have a strong plot, but it has compelling characters that you enjoy watching exist, and you want to know what happens in their lives. Obviously people love Dinklage now because of his role as Tyrion in A Game of Thrones, and while he has the same presence here he’s a completely different character. Cannavale is great as the exuberant vendor who continually presses Fin for friendship. We only get glimpses of the artists’ tragedy but it’s quite moving. The film says a lot with a little, and a great deal of information is conveyed through glances and silence.

It’s a movie that draws you in and you feel like it’s a fully realized world. It could almost be a documentary, that’s how authentic the characters seem. I was surprised that I enjoyed it as much as I did, and although I’m wary of praising it too highly, for I do not want people to go in with expectations too high, this is a great film and one that I feel has flown under the radar. I think a lot of people will find a lot of enjoyment out of it.

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