Tom McCarthy's THE STATION AGENT
Movie review by Dennis D. McDonald
While watching this film I said to myself, “If I could make a movie this is the kind of movie I’d make.”
This small, unpretentious, and touching film really works. The characters are interesting, the dialog is spare but true, and the story arc is well crafted.
The story itself is unusual. That is part of the appeal. A young, lonely man is totally involved with trains - train models, train movies, train schedules, train books, you name it. He works at a hobby shop.
One day his employer and only friend drops dead, leaving him a small rundown train depot and surrounding property in rural New Jersey. The young man drops everything and moves there, loneliness and all.
The young man is a dwarf. This fact is important to the story, yet at the same time, a side issue. The central issue is that, for one reason or another, he has walled himself into a well of loneliness and self sufficiency. Yet when he moves to his new home, he runs into several people who insist on being his friend. One is a nutty Hispanic diner truck owner. One is a separated woman grieving for her dead son. One is an 11 year old black girl who is completely honest.
What could have been a schmaltzy exercise in pathos and artificial sentimentality ends up as a mature, touching, real film. Much of the credit must go to the main character, played by Peter Dinklage. This guy can act and has the ability to project a very strong screen presence. And despite the movie’s peculiarities, it manages to touch on real feelings and real human situations.
Writer-director Tom McCarthy has really created a gem in this movie.
Review copyright (c) 2004 by Dennis D. McDonald