train chasing Baby!"
When his friend and employer Henry (Benjamin) dies suddenly,
Finn (Dinklage) is left an old railroad station in his will. He decides to
move to the station in Newfoundland, New Jersey to start a new, quiet, solitary
life. There he meets the extremely chatty hotdog seller Joe (Cannavale) and
then nearly get ran over by Olivia (Clarkson). The pair instantly takes a
liking to the loner, train enthusiast but will the rest of the community feel
the same about man who was born with dwarfism?
Once in a while a small budget, character driven, comedy drama
comes out of nowhere and grabs your attention. The Station Agent is one of
Writer/director Thomas McCarthy brings us a tale of three lonely
people who, even if they don't know it yet, really do need some companionship.
This is a story about personal space and how we really need that broken once
in a while because if not life will become very dull indeed. It deals with
the human spirit and how anyone can reach out to someone when they are in
need or when they can see that they are lonely, sometimes with hysterical
As well as the touching and at times, very funny story, the
film has three characters that you end up really caring about. The three central
performances make the film what it is. Firstly we have Peter Dinklage as Finn,
the man who has suffered the indignity of verbal abuse all his life due to
his size. Finn can't take it anymore and seeks solitude in his newly inherited
railroad station. This is a tender and understated performance from Dinklage,
who plays Finn as a very closed off man who slowly opens himself up to friendship
and becomes the linchpin of the group.
Bobby Cannavale is Joe, a New Yorker stuck in New Jersey running
his ill father's hotdog van. He is probably the friendliest person you could
ever meet and is fascinated by Finn's interest in trains. Cannavale provides
much of the comic relief in the movie and is really the heart of the film
as he wears it so clearly on his sleeve.
The wonderful Patricia Clarkson is artist Olivia, who has chosen
solitude to come to terms with her grief over losing her son. She is the soul
of the group, the mother figure that the two men come to rely on. This is
a tremendous performance from an actress who is always great in whatever she
appears in, as she effortlessly changes from farce to sheer emotional drama
over the course of the story.
There is also good support from Michelle Williams as Emily in
a role that sees her move away from her Dawson's Creek persona and into more
'The Station Agent' is storytelling and acting at its most natural.
It is like you are witnessing a glimpse into these people's lives, following
their trails and tribulations as well as their joys and passions. This is
character driven, comedy drama at its very best which only let down by its
sudden end that leaves you wanting to know more about these three extremely
Presented in Widescreen 1.85:1 Anamorphic with a Dolby Digital
5.1 soundtrack, the transfer is good. When you realise that this is low budget
feature, the transfer is even more impressive. The picture quality is first
rate throughout even during the darker scenes of the movie. The soundtrack
is equally impressive with a strong emphasis on dialogue but the wonderful
score also fills your speakers.
Feature Commentary with writer/director Thomas McCarthy and
actors Peter Dinklage, Patricia Clarkson and Bobby Cannavale
It's refreshing to have a commentary that is like a group of friends gathering
together to talk about something they love very dearly and this is one of
those rare occasions. This chatty, informative and fun track is how all DVD
commentaries should be. Interweaving tales from the shoot, stories about getting
the film financed and actually made and reflecting on Q & A sessions when
viewed asked about specific scenes and their meaning. Bobby Cannavale is a
riot throughout but each of them makes their own contribution to the commentary
for this excellent movie.
Deleted Scenes (3.43 mins)
Entitled 'Lunch on the Roof", "Henry's funeral", "The morning after" and "Gorgeous
Frank", these short deleted sequences add a little to the movie but with the
absence of a commentary track or introduction, we don't really know why these
scenes were removed.
A gem of a movie receives a rather unfulfilled DVD treatment.
There is no arguing that the DVD commentary is an example of how it should
be done and the deleted scenes are interesting but there could have been so
much more. This is shame because a film this good deserves so much better.
The lack of extra features should not put you off renting or buying the movie
however as this is a film that deserves to be watched and should be part of