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Movie Review: The Station Agent

Story: You'd think that a film about a dwarf, a depressed artist divorcee and a fun loving Cuban is the beginning of a bad joke -- but you would be very wrong. This award winning Sundance film (Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award, Best Actress Award and the audience's choice for Best Drama) is a real winner.

In his debut as a writer and director Tom McCarthy has my attention. This film revolves around character development and what happens to people when they dare to take a risk and become involved in someone's life. The action is minimal. When I say that some of the action involves train watching please don't confuse it with the action in the film Trainspotting.

Finbar McBride, a dwarf, inherits a remote train station in Newfoundland, NJ. He relocates to live his life in solitude, away from the lifelong taunts that have come his way. But life doesn't turn out the way we plan, does it? The odd couple of the year soon warms our heart as Joe, owner of a mobile food stand, annoys the heck out of Fin until they become friends. The threesome is complete when Fin is almost run down by Olivia, a woman on the verge of a breakdown.

This an original, thoroughly enjoyable film that comes at you slowly, unlike a speeding train.

FYI-For those of you that see the film I checked into the invention of the blimp.

Here is the lowdown straight from the How Stuff Works Website.

In 1783, two French brothers, Jacques Etienne and Joseph Michel Montgolfier, invented the hot-air balloon and sent one to an altitude of 6,000 ft (1,800 m). Later that year, the French physicist Jean Pilatre de Rozier made the first manned balloon flight. In 1852, Henri Giffard built the first powered airship, which consisted of a 143-ft (44-m) long, cigar-shaped, gas-filled bag with a propeller, powered by a 3-horsepower (2.2-kW) steam engine. Later, in 1900, Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin of Germany invented the first rigid airship. The first Zeppelin had tail fins and rudders, and was powered by internal combustion engines. It carried five people to an altitude of 1,300 ft (396 m) and flew a distance of 3.75 mi (6 km). Several models of Zeppelins were built in the early 1900s. These vehicles were used for military and civilian purposes, including transatlantic travel. The most famous Zeppelin was the Hindenburg, which was destroyed by a fire in 1937 while landing at Lakehurst, New Jersey.

Acting: One fabulous cast headed by Peter Dinklage as Fin. He was just terrific as the Station Agent. I don't know what kind of career he will have in Hollywood but with a smooth voice like he has I think a voice-over career could guarantee him lots of cash for the rest of his life. Patricia Clarkson is fabulous as Olivia, the depressed artist. She is always good and I hope this will get her some lead roles in the future. Bobby Cannavale (known mostly for work on TV in Kingpin, Third Watch and 100 Centre Street) is charming, believable and gives us a great performance as Joe.

Predilection: I like films with a quirky premise.

Critters: There must have been some critters but I can't recall any.

Food: Some Cuban food, breakfast cereal, lots of coffee and beer.

Visual Art: Train posters and some tortured self portraits by Olivia.

Blatant Product Placement: Rolling Rock beer.

Soundtrack: A great score by Stephen Trask (Hedwig and the Angry Inch).

Opening Titles: Simple.

Theater Audience: Spartan.

Quirky Meter: 5

Predictability Level: Moderate

Oscar Worthy: Yes.

Nit Picking: Not a nit in sight.

Big Screen or Rental: Big screen for sure in order to see these large performances and to support fine Indie films like this one. For some other Patricia Clarkson films, try: Dogville, All the Real Girls, Pieces of April, Far from Heaven, Safety of Objects, The Pledge, Joe Gould's Secret, The Green Mile and High Art.

Length: Under the 2 hour Lobo rule.

LOBO HOWLS: 9