Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Station Agent

The lawyer presiding over his best and only friend's will tells the dwarf about the land he has just inherited: "I gotta be honest with you. It's a beautiful piece of land, but there's nothin' there." But this suits the sad little man just fine and he goes to his newly inherited train station house in the middle of rural New Jersey to live in solitude. This is not to be however as the friendly and talkative Joe has a coffee truck stationed outside his new property (it is unclear why he has a stand in the middle of nowhere). Joe is the kind of Brooklynite who wears cutoff shirts and ends every sentence with the word bro. But he is kind and genuine enough, and along with a troubled older woman wants to help the new tenant come out of his shell. The Station Agent is a wonderful and observant film beautifully shot and on par with his subsequent release The Visitor. Like Richard Jenkin's beautifully nuanced performance, Peter Dinklage turns in an equally poignant one here. It must be hard for someone of his stature to choose roles, and I have always admired his choices. Equally fine are Bobby Cannavale bringing humor and warmth to his role, and Patricia Clarkson as the troubled friend. This movie was a slam-dunk until the near end when I feel it takes a few wrong turns. Still, it is fine film worth seeking out.